Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quinoa & Bean Salad with Basil & Lemon

While she turned out to be a great big nothing in West Philadelphia (a little heavy rain and one windy day), Hurricane Irene was a weirdly grown-up experience for me. Getting ready for a potentially major weather event on my own between cautionary text messages from my Mom, I had many a flashback to my parents' old black GE radio, rummaging around for candles, and the excitement of when the power would go out. Though I know now that storms were surely less exciting for my parents, who were no doubt concerned with things like food spoilage and water supply, I have lots of fond memories of weathering storms with my family as a kid. On my own, though, the whole thing seemed a bit less fun.

Though quinoa is only non-perishable in its uncooked form, this seemed like a reasonable electric-free dinner recipe for pre-cooked quinoa. And even if you were to lose power, it would stay fresh for a while in your refrigerator for a while as long as you don't go around leaving the door open all willy-nilly.
This makes about 3-4 side-dish servings, or about 2 vegan main dishes.

1 cup cooked quinoa (a little over 1/3 cup raw)
1/2 cup chickpeas or other beans, thoroughly cooked
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch basil, stems removed and leaves chopped
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Juice of 1 lemon

1. In a large bowl, whisk together about 2 tbsp olive oil and the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
2. Add quinoa, chickpeas, onion and basil and mix well.
Feta optional
This salad is simple, fresh, delicious and nutritious, and a great make-ahead meal. For a little more color you might prefer to use kidney beans, navy beans, or something else that isn't coming to mind at the moment. And, while I love the simplicity of this salad, you could add just about any fresh veggies that you have on hand - cucumber, summer squash, or fresh corn, for example. Because I'm a slight carboholic, I had mine with a warmed, buttered naan-type bread and threw in a little stray Feta, but without these additions, this meal is vegan and gluten-free, and perfect for a summer lunch. Yum!

Quote of the Day: Red onions are especially divine. I hold a slice up to the singlight pouring in through the kitchen window, and it glows like a fine piece of antique glass. Cool watery-white with layers delicately edged with imperial purple...strong, humble, peaceful...with that fiery nub of spring green at the center. ~ Mary Hayes Grieco, The Kitchen Mystic

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