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Warm Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Chickpeas, and Cranberries

The hubs and I just returned home from a quick weekend trip to New Orleans.  Before moving to Denver, I was a NOLA girl and am still very much a Louisiana girl at heart.  A visit to the south in springtime really does wonders for the soul.  Even though it was pretty humid this trip, we spent a lot of time outside…walking through the quarter, Audubon Park, up and down Magazine Street, and we spent some quality time people watching on a balcony in the FQ.  Good friends, good food, and good drinks made it a wonderful weekend.  And, spending time with my brother and his pup is always lovely.

French Quarter Festival was going on, so we got to sample some of NOLA’s finest from the various food tents at the festival, including one of my favorite festival foods—crawfish and goat cheese crepes. And, I had to eat at all of my favorite restaurants.  I think I came back a good five pounds heavier.  Well worth it.

Now we are back in Colorado (and winter decided to show up again…in the middle of April) and it’s time for a bit of a food cleanse…at least for a day or so.  One of the best ways to eat healthy and still get a delicious meal is quinoa.  It is high in fiber and protein and so very versatile.  Making a quinoa salad is one of our go-to side dishes or lunchtime meals, but quinoa stuffed peppers and quinoa burgers are great ways to incorporate quinoa into your meals.

But, this warm quinoa salad with brussels sprouts, chickpeas, and cranberries is definitely one of our favorite meals.  It is perfect to bring for lunch throughout the week and is very filling.

Qunioa

  • 1-1/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes, until browned and tender, tossing once.

While brussels sprouts are roasting, cook quinoa. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.  Let quinoa simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit an additional 5-10 minutes, covered.  Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.  The quinoa should have absorbed all the water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Taste and adjust depending on preference.  Don’t be afraid to use more maple syrup. J

Toss the quinoa, brussels sprouts, walnuts, cranberries, chickpeas, and dressing together in a large bowl.  Serve warm.

Source: Vegetarian Times via Once Upon a Cutting Board

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Lunch, Side Dish

 

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