I absolutely love recipes that can change through the vegetable seasons. My latest obsession is quinoa salad. It's light yet filling and feels so nourishing when I eat it. The quinoa and chickpeas both add protein, and I can make it as vegetable heavy as I like. I've been making a giant batch on Monday and eating for lunches all week long.
it's a great way to use up the veggies in my fridge to make way for new veggies to come. I also use leftovers a LOT in this. I often make roasted veggies for dinners, and we sometimes have multiple containers of random leftovers. These are great in this salad, and a great way to clear out little bits of leftover roasted veggies.
Now, most of my recipes aren't really recipes, because I adapt all the time and don't measure. So I'll share this with you as best as I can.
Vegetables: changes with the season. Mostly cooked/roasted
Seasoning. To your taste. I like white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar and black cherry juice concentrate, or balsamic reduction. These last two add some sweetness to the tart. You could also add a little lime or lemon juice.
On my most recent version, here's a close approximation to what I did:
9 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry = 3 cups cooked)*
4 cups cooked chick peas
1 tray roasted cauliflower (about 2 big heads or 3 small heads)
1 tray roasted zucchini and yellow squash (about 5-7 each, zucchini and squash)
1 bunch sautéed chard, stems included
3 cucumbers, peeled, cored and diced
1 bunch spring onions
(Pickled chard stems- optional)
1 overflowing cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
Balsamic reduction to taste.
chopped basil for garnish
Cook the quinoa and chick peas early so they're ready. Cut the cauliflower, zucchini and squash into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, stir to cover veggies with oil. Roast at 400 for 40-ish minutes. When finished, set aside to cool. Meanwhile, chop chard. Separate stems and leaves. Chop stems first, chopping small. Get these going on medium heat while you chop the leaves into ribbons or bite sized pieces. Cook stems about 10 minutes, then add leaves and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Peel and dice cucumbers. Chop spring onions.
Combine all the elements (quinoa, chickpeas, all the chopped and cooked veggies, feta) in a very large bowl. I also added some pickled chard stems, just because I had some leftover in the fridge that needed to be used from the fancy meal I made last week, but these are totally optional. Add your dressing (vinegar, reduction, citrus juice if using). On the reduction or cherry concentrate, drizzle all over the top of the combined salad. Then mix it all up. Taste and adjust/add more seasonings as needed. Add basil when serving. Basil doesn't keep well in the fridge, so add some chopped basil each time you eat it.
*actually, I used my small rice cooker to do this and filled it to the three cup mark, so I'm not sure if that's exactly three cups, but it was close
In previous versions, I've used cooked collards cut into ribbons, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, and so much more. Let me know how you get creative with this dish!