Happy New Year!
It's over a full week into the New Year. I ate my body weight in delicious food over a week-long span from December 23rd until January 1. I felt sad to get rid of our beautiful Christmas tree.... to not have someone to go and see, or have someone come and visit on a daily basis, but normal life has to go on. Along with resuming a normal routine means getting back on track and not eating a pound of chocolate a day. Or filling my belly with cream cheese or meat-laden appies until I can barely breathe. Less wine. Less beer. Less rum. Gasp! Oh glorious holiday season....I'll miss you.
So, moving along... What is the polar opposite of chocolate, eggnog and cream cheese? Quinoa. Vegetables. Legumes. I know, it sounds so sad. Trust me though, this salad will make you feel like it's all going to be okay. It will feel refreshing to eat normally again. Routine is better :)
To me, quinoa is like pasta or rice but with less guilt. I feel like I'm eating a not-so-great-for-me white carbohydrate when I eat it. I've successfully tricked my taste-buds! I often make a Greek version of quinoa salad, but this time I had slightly different ingredients on hand. This past week my fridge had some lonely looking grape tomatoes, a few sad little basil leaves, and a container of mini bocconcini that hadn't gotten used over Christmas. I combined all of these with a little lemon, balsamic vinegar, quinoa and my fave add-in, the mighty chickpea, and this salad was born:
You will need:
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 container (130g) mini bocconcini
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup coarsely chopped basil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
coarsely ground pepper, to taste
-Bring quinoa and water (or broth) to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for approx 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Allow to fully cool.
-Combine cooled quinoa, chickpeas, bocconcini, tomatoes and basil in a medium sized bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, oregano and pepper. Drizzle over quinoa mixture and lightly toss. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.