Quinoa & Chickpeas

by Darcy in

One of my favorite days each month is when my new  Bon Appétit magazine arrives.  I use my favorite sticky flags (although these Kitchen Page Flags may be more appropriate and equally as fun) to mark all of the recipes I'd like to try and then I email my college roommate, Kate, a list of all the recipes we should try (we alternate who sends the list each month).  We usually create a pretty long list and while we are lucky to make it through two or three recipes each month, it is really the ritual that I love... the flagging, the list-making and the resulting email and photo exchanges about the results.  It almost makes me feel like we are cooking together instead of being 1,003 miles apart (thank you, Google Maps).

This month there were two recipes I wanted to try right away.  I like taking leftovers for lunch and healthy salads are the best and easiest option.  Neither of these is technically a salad, but they are both delicious and easy and quick to make.

Sautéing the spring vegetablesThe first recipe is for Quinoa and Spring Vegetable Pilaf.  I love quinoa!  While it is grain-like in texture, it is actually a chenopod, which makes it most closely related to species such as beets and spinach (and super healthy).  One unfortunate side effect of quinoas recent popularity (described in this NY Times article) is that the price of quinoa has risen dramatically, which has made it virtually unaffordable in Bolivia where people have lived off of it for centuries.  The article doesn't offer a solution to this issue, but it certainly is good to think about how our actions impact others.


Quinoa and Spring Vegetable Pilaf (adapted from Bon Appétit)
Yields 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed, divided
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
  • 1 14-ounce bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil in small saucepan. Add quinoa and 1 teaspoon salt; return to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed, 15 to 17 minutes. Drain if necessary. 
Puree broth, peas, 4 tablespoons mint, and garlic in blender until smooth.
Melt butter in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and shallots; sauté until soft and light brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, then asparagus; sauté until mushrooms are tender and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in puree; stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add quinoa; stir to coat.

Divide pilaf among bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint and serve.

After adding the pea purée (love that green color)
Spring vegetable quinoa

The other great recipe from this month's magazine comes from Molly Wizenberger, the author of the fabulous cooking blog Orangette and the enjoyable book A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table.  Her recipes are delicious and this one did not disappoint.  It couldn't be easier (it took maybe ten minutes to toss together) and it was tasty Sunday night for dinner and at lunch yesterday and today!  Don't miss the accompanying column, too.

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Fresh Herbs (and thanks to my mom for the cute bowl holding the chickpeas)

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Fresh Herbs
Yields 2 servings

  • 1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Coarse kosher salt
Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  The salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.