Lime Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad
This salad is definitely a recipe both Jen and I have had pinned on our food boards for a while, and I finally committed to it to try it. I saw a few versions of the salad and the one I was inspired by most was from the Diva Dish. I loved the interplay of the colors in the salad — bursting red cherry tomatoes, bright green creamy avocado, and the sunshine yellow of chickpeas and quinoa. She made her salad with lemon juice as the base for the dressing, but I actually think lime goes better with cilantro and avocado, so that’s where I took my creative license. My friend Tori and I made this alongside of a Mango Arugula and Avocado Salad and Peach, Tomato and Mozzarella Crostini. For another quinoa recipe idea, check out Quinoa Salad Tabbouleh-Style.
Lime Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad (courtesy of the Diva Dish)
Yield: 4 servings
- 1-1.5 cups quinoa
- 2cups vegetable broth (or any stock)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic
For the dressing:
- juice of 2-3 limes
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
First cook the quinoa. Actually, first rinse it; there is a bitter protective coating on it called saponin which is usually rinsed off before the quinoa is packaged, but who knows where your quinoa has been… There are several methods I’ve seen suggested for the cooking. Some say toast the quinoa first to get the nutty flavors to expand and then boil/simmer. Other recipes just go straight to boiling/simmering. Still others suggest to let the quinoa soak for a bit. Tori spearheaded Operation Quinoa by rinsing it, putting it in a pot with chicken stock (aka bouillon), letting it boil, then simmering, and letting the liquid absorb, leaving just a bit in the pot so the quinoa does not dry out. The rule of thumb is 2 cups of liquid per cup of quinoa and other than that, I think it’s fine to just go to town and let it cook without all the other fancy steps, especially for a salad like this, where the quinoa will not be in the spotlight and is one of many ingredients. But I digress…
Either finely dice the spinach and cilantro or let it go in a food processor (which we did). Same for onions and garlic (those I decided to cut by hand to refine my knife skills).
Add all to a bowl with the chickpeas. If the quinoa has cooled down, add as well. Add the tomatoes, avocado, and the dressing (just mix all the ingredients above together). Let cool in fridge for 10-15 minutes before serving.
One note on the dressing: the amounts above are suggested, I tinkered with it until I got the sweetness/tanginess ratio that I desired, which for me entailed adding extra mustard and agave nectar to balance the strong acidity of the lime juice. Enjoy!