Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad with Tangy Tahini Sauce
from Ayurveda Today, Volume 22, Number 4, Spring 2010

Inspired by Middle Eastern fare, this substantial and easy-to-digest spring/summer salad makes a festive offering for a picnic, outdoor cookout, or potluck. Make a dressed-up meal by serving it over a bed of summery fresh garden greens, e.g., lettuce or steamed leafy greens such as kale. The salad becomes more festive by adding a handful of coarsely chopped, oil-cured black olives and/or a handful of lightly toasted pine nuts.

Serves 6 as a main dish.

Ingredients

1 cup
dried chickpeas
1 pinch
hing
1 cup
quinoa (a mixture of white and red, if available, for added pizzazz)
1 1/2 cups
water
1/2 tsp
mineral salt
3 Tbs
extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup
raisins (optional*), rehydrated in water
1/3 cup
sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped, rehydrated in water (substitution: 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise)
2 large handfuls
fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
2 large handfuls
fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp
ground cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup
feta cheese, crumbled (optional*)
Mineral salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

*It’s up to the chef whether or not to use the optional additions of raisins and/or feta cheese. This depends on how traditional one is with Ayurvedic food combining which encourages avoiding the combinations of grains with fruit and legumes with both cheese and/or fruit.

Doshic Notes

Vata :: pacifying
Pitta :: add more mint than parsley and go light on the sauce
Kapha :: avoid the sauce and the cheese (poor kapha!) or use additional black pepper, and give a generous pinch or two of paprika and/or cayenne pepper

 

Prepare the Salad

Wash the chickpeas in several changes cold water. Cover with at least 4 inches fresh water and soak overnight.

In a separate bowl, wash the quinoa in several changes of cold water, massaging the grain in the process. This removes the sticky coating that can otherwise create digestive distress. For enhanced digestibility, soak the quinoa overnight in a large bowl covered with fresh water.

Begin the salad by preparing the chickpeas. Drain the soaking water then cook in a 2-quart pot covered with 4 inches of water along with the pinch of hing. Scrape off any foam that rises to the top during the cooking process. Plan on approximately 45 minutes for the cooking to be done. When chickpeas are soft, drain and rinse. Set aside.

While the chickpeas are cooking, drain the quinoa and cook in 2-quart pot with 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.

While the chickpeas and quinoa are cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Soak the raisins and sun-dried tomatoes separately in twice their amount of warm water. Chop the fresh herbs.

Drain the optional raisins and sun-dried tomatoes. Add them, along with the chickpeas, parsley, mint, cinnamon, and optional crumbled feta cheese to the quinoa. Dress with the tahini sauce and gently toss until the sauce coats all the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning with salt and/or pepper.

Tangy Tahini Sauce

1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/3 cup filtered water
2 Tbs fresh ginger root, grated
1 tsp honey, brown rice or maple syrup
1 tsp whole cumin seed, lightly roasted
1 tsp coriander seed, lightly roasted and ground
1 pinch paprika

 

 

Make the Sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a pint glass jar. Cover and seal tightly with a lid.

Shake vigorously until blended and smooth.

Add more or less water to make a sauce similar in consistency to a thick salad dressing.

For those who are pressed for time, make the sauce the night before.


Michele Schulz’s love for Ayurveda began over 10 years ago and encompasses yoga, nutrition, and cooking. After a recent six-month stay in Nepal where she taught Ayurvedic cooking, she is currently delighting in preparing Ayurvedic meals for a dharma center in the French countryside. Michele gives courses and consultations internationally and can be contacted at micheleschulz@gmail.com.
garbonzoes image © Alina Solovyova-Vincent, alina555@istockphoto.com
 
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