Pistachio Date Quinoa with Chickpeas
Serves 4 as an entree salad
Quinoa is native to South America, but it’s growing popularity, chewy texture and ease of preparation makes it an effortless and super nutritious substitute for bulgur wheat. All dressed up here with Middle Eastern fruits, nuts and spices this is one of my favorite fast weeknight salads. A sprinkle of sumac, that wonderful sour sweet Middle Eastern spice, is optional but well worth the effort.
Tip: For easier date chopping, use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors and dip blade frequently in cold water to prevent sticking.
1 cup uncooked white quinoa
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 small white onion, peeled
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 moist madjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
⅓ cup toasted chopped pistachio nuts
Handful kale or spinach leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4-6 tablespoons sumac powder
1. Rinse quinoa in cold water, then pour into a large saucepan and over medium heat toast quinoa for 3-4 minutes until grains are dry, lightly golden and start to make a popping sound. Add cumin and fennel seeds and toast another minute, then add water and salt. Bring to a boil, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed and grains are tender. Use a fork to fluff quinoa and cool for 10 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, slice onion in half and slice into thin half moons. Role kale leaves or spinach leaves into a tight cigar shape slice very thinly to form ribbons. Combine onions, kale, chopped parsley, chickpeas, dates and pistachios in a serving bowl. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a measuring cup; pour over salad ingredients, toss to coat completely and let stand while quinoa is cooking. When the quinoa is done and slightly cooled, add to salad and stir in quinoa thoroughly to completely coat with dressing. Sprinkle top of salad with sumac, or divide salad onto serving plates and sprinkle a generous tablespoon or more over each serving.