THE WASHINGTON POST – I have made this salad so many times this month, it has come to feel like a good habit.
It sure is one that’s easy to stick to, a reliable combination of tasty, nourishing ingredients, easily kept on hand, and varied based on whatever ingredients happen to be in the kitchen.
Though I have mostly whipped up a single serving for myself for a quick lunch or dinner, and I have written it up that way here, it’s a cinch to multiply in case of last minute pop-ins (which seem to happen a lot when my daughter is in town from college).
The basic template is this: cooked grain + bean + cooked vegetable + raw vegetable + leafy greens + onion, all tossed with lemon juice, olive oil and feta cheese.
The key is to have a batch of cooked grain in the refrigerator ready to go: Quinoa, farro, sorghum, barley and bulgur are all good options. Any type of bean works, though I am partial to chickpeas or cannellini here.
For the cooked vegetable, I usually toss in a handful of grilled zucchini, which I make routinely throughout the summer, but you can use any cooked vegetable you have on hand.
For the raw vegetable, tomatoes are an easy win this time of year, but go ahead and use up whatever needs to get eaten – celery, cucumber and radishes would all add a fresh crunch.
The same goes for the leafy green. I lean toward arugula, but any tender green should work well. Add some scallion, red onion or sweet white onion, then toss it all together with olive oil and lemon juice and, finally, crumbled feta cheese, which brings in a creamy, salty lusciousness. If feta’s not your thing, swap in a different cheese or add a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast to make it vegan.
Whatever variations you go with, you will wind up with a fulfilling, nutritious meal packed with exciting textures and flavours, a salad I hope will become a good habit for you, too.
QUINOA AND VEGETABLE SALAD WITH FETA
This fulfilling, nutritious salad packed with exciting textures and flavours is meant as one serving as a quick, pull-together meal, with variations based on what might be in the refrigerator.
The recipe can be easily multiplied to serve two or more. The key to its convenience is to have a batch of precooked grain in the refrigerator ready to go, and cooked chickpeas or other beans – canned or otherwise – on hand.
Storage: Cooked quinoa or other grain can be refrigerated for up to four days.
– One cup baby arugula, or other tender leafy greens
– Half cup cooked quinoa, ideally red or tricolour, or other cooked grain
– Half cup cooked chickpeas or another bean (drained and rinsed if canned)
– Half cup chopped grilled zucchini or another cooked vegetable
– Half cup quartered grape tomatoes or another chopped fresh vegetable, such as cucumber or celery
– One tablespoon thinly sliced scallion or chopped red or sweet onion
– One tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
– One tablespoon fresh lemon juice
– Pinch fine salt
– Freshly ground black pepper
– Quarter cup crumbled feta cheese
In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, quinoa, chickpeas, zucchini, tomatoes and scallion until combined.
Add the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss to coat, then toss in the feta cheese and serve.