I’m not much for throwing around buzzwords. They are usually fairly overrated, in my humble opinion. But when I think of quinoa, the word “super-food” just pops right into my head. And I must admit, it’s a pretty gosh darn accurate description for this little nutritional powerhouse.
To me, quinoa is not only “super” because of it’s health benefits, but also because of it’s versatility in the kitchen. Quinoa makes a great base for both warm and cold salads. It can be used in baked goods. It’s naturally gluten-free. And it’s a great alternative to starchy side dishes, like rice or potatoes.
For me, quinoa can also be a lifesaver when I’m having a “clean out the refrigerator and pantry” kind of day. Over the years, I’ve found that I can pretty much mix any combination of fruits, vegetables, herbs and miscellaneous toppings with cooked quinoa and still end up with something really delicious and satisfying. And that’s exactly how I created this Red Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Currants, Chickpeas and Cashews. For which I use the word “created” very loosely, as I basically just tossed together everything that was lurking around my kitchen into a big bowl. Which is proof that sometimes really great things happen even when you’re not really trying!
Red Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Currants, Chickpeas and Cashews
- 2/3 cups red quinoa
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1 cup shredded carrots (from about 1-2 carrots)
- 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 15-17 minutes, covered, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let the quinoa stand covered for 3-5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. Once the quinoa has cooled, toss it with the carrots, chickpeas and currants.
- In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa salad, tossing gently to combine. Stir in the cashews. Top with the chopped parsley and serve.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
1. Any color quinoa will work in this recipe.
2. Raisins or dried cranberries are great in place of the currants.
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