CHICKPEA , QUINOA & CRANBERRY SALAD
TOTAL TIME: 30 mins (+ 20 mins refrigeration time- if desired)
MAKES: (2 - 4 servings)
This is one of my all time favorite meal prep foods. Its super simple but packs in a ton of flavor and blood sugar stabilizing benefits with its protein profile.
2 cups (250 ml) water
1 cup (125 ml) dry quinoa
2 cups (250 ml) cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 cup of chopped spinach
1 avocado, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped and deseeded
¾ cup of dried cranberries
¼ cup of chopped cilantro
½ cup of chopped almonds
½ cup of pumpkin seeds
½ cup of feta/Parmesan (optional)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ a fresh lemon- juiced
½ tsp. sugar (optional)
1 clove garlic, finely grated
½ tsp. of ground cumin
½ tsp. of cayenne or paprika
freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
1. Place water and quinoa in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until quinoa is soft. Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely. Quinoa will absorb remaining water and become quite fluffy. If you prefer a crunchier quinoa, drain off any remaining water and then allow it to cool completely.
2. In a large bowl place the chickpeas, red bell pepper, red onion, cucumber, nuts and seeds, cilantro, avocado and feta/Parmesan cheese (optional). Mix together and add the cooled quinoa.
3. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, sugar, garlic and spices. Pour the dressing over salad.
4. Toss well and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to combine.
Quinoa Unlike actual grains such as wheat and barley, which grow in grasses, quinoa plants grow edible seeds. It is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants including quercetin and kaempferol.
Quinoa is much higher in fiber than most grains. One study found 17–27 grams of fiber per cup (185 grams). Most of the fiber is soluble, but one cup of quinoa still contains 2.5 grams of insoluble fiber.