Sunday starts later than the other days in a week. Blame it on the late night Saturday or the voice in your head whispering “Sleep some more, Monday is close and you may be sleep deprived next week”. Whatever the case maybe, Sunday mornings in our home begins with lazing around, catching up on emails and few reads here and there. The next thing on the agenda will invariably be to fix a quick and easy homemade brunch – Yes its almost 11 am and we have only sipped on coffee and some fruit perhaps. So we will follow the easier route to whip up brunch : a late hearty breakfast suitable for an early lunch.
Among the time tested options (though not exhaustive) that feature high on the list include scrambled eggs with herbs and feta, berry smoothies, salads tossed with roasted veggies or collards, Palak or Aloo parathas with yogurt and My mum’s vegetable egg white omelettes. Recently this simple quinoa salad with blanched kale, chickpeas, ripe avocados, cool cucumbers and tomatoes tossed in an even simpler lemon dressing was on our plates. It is so simple that I literally do not have to type the recipe here. That is the beauty of recipes using quinoa – It is such a complete veggie protein, easy to cook and takes on the taste of whatever you serve it with.
So here goes the simple vegetarian and vegan recipe of everything you wish to find in a meal – A salad that will save you a lot of time, has flavour and nutrition being a complete meal with proteins from quinoa and chickpeas, green powerful kale, healthy avocado and olive oil fat plus cucumbers and tomatoes to cool you down.
For the salad:
A bowl of cooked quinoa (red or white)*
1 can of cooked chickpeas
1 ripe avocado scooped and diced
1 Japanese cucumber diced
1 ripe tomato diced into cubes
1 onion finely chopped
A bunch of kale leaves blanched **
For the dressing:
2 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 part lemon juice
2 garlic cloves smashed
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon honey
I teaspoon wholegrain mustard
Let the cooked quinoa cool a bit unless you fancy a very warm salad. In a wok or non stick pan, sauté the chopped onions with little olive oil, blanched kale and chickpeas. Once done, in a large bowl mix in all the ingredients of the salad lightly with your fingers. Separately whisk in the dressing items. Pour dressing over salad bowl just before serving. This salad is a complete meal in itself but can be served as a side as well.
*I normally add in 1 part quinoa to 2 parts boiling water. Lower heat and simmer until the quinoa seeds burst open and soon they turn soft and fluffy. To avoid the quinoa turning mushy add in lesser water. Use a fork to fluff it.
**I prefer curly kale since its softer, easier to cook and chew.
There are countless salads on the Internet with a quinoa base and there are so many concoctions you can whip up. Some of our favourites with fluffy cooked quinoa that are super quick and easy to put together include:
– Olive oil roasted pumpkin with dried Italian herbs, baby spinach, pumpkin seeds
– Smashed garlic and onions sautéed with cumin, red pepper flakes, peas, carrots, beans
– Grated beets, almond flakes, collards and a balsamic drizzle
– Crumbled feta, olives, fresh cilantro, sweet potatoes , pistachios and olive oil
Do you like quinoa and cook it often ? What are your favourite styles of cooking and serving quinoa? Do you like it in salads or sides or burger patties or baked goodies? Would love to hear what everyone thinks of it.