Quinoa, Tomato, Basil and Garbanzo Salad

It’s the first day of first grade for my girls and I’m really ready to get back on a regular schedule. I think they are too although they had distinctly different reactions to their first day. Ella came bounding down the stairs at 6:45am, fully dressed, exclaiming “I get my own desk today!”. She couldn’t have been more excited. Hailey, on the other hand, had to be drug out of bed at 7:45am so she could shower, dress and (barely) eat breakfast before leaving the house at 8:30am, all the while complaining “I don’t want to go to school, I am NOT going!”. I finally told her it was the law for all children to go to school and we could get in big trouble if we allowed her to stay home. I know, I’m a terrible mother using such scare tactics but it worked beautifully. She, of course, asked about her good friends who are home schooled and I told her they had to get special permission and, while it works for them, there was no way that would be happening with us. Ella asked “But what if you’re sick?” to which I answered “Of course you can stay home if you’re sick. But, it’s against the law to fake.” Yes, I realize that it’s not really against the law and I may have been crossing the line but I consider it preemptive action for future conduct. Payback’s a you-know-what and I was a pro at faking illness to get out of school. Those of you who know my history know I’m not exaggerating about my truancy. I’m pretty sure I’ve met my match with Hailey. Could be a long twelve years…

Here’s another quinoa salad to add to your repertoire. It’s a good one for late summer when basil, peppers and tomatoes abound. Also, it’s really nice to have a big bowl of it in the fridge for warm after-school evenings. Hot soup and casserole season will be here soon enough (and it will last a long time) so we might as well enjoy our summer salads for a few more weeks!
Quinoa, Tomato, Basil, and Garbanzo Salad
(serves 6 -8, measurements are approximate so don’t stress)
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (cook according to directions on package), cooled
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup (half bulb) fennel, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 cup black olives, halved
1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 TB fresh lemon juice
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, grated or chopped fine
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup basil, thinly sliced chiffonade style (long, thin strips)
1 cup tomatoes, diced (halved if using grape tomatoes)
feta (to your taste)
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
Prepare quinoa and set aside to cool.
Chop celery, peppers and fennel. Place in large bowl.
Add green onions, olives and garbanzo beans.
In separate bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.
Pour in dressing and gently stir to combine the ingredients.
Add basil and cooked quinoa, gently stir to combine. Refrigerate if you’re not serving right away.
Before serving, toast the pine nuts in a saute pan, no oil, on medium heat until they begin to turn golden brown. Watch closely (not a good time to multi-task) as they tend to burn quickly and immediately turn them on to a heat safe plate to stop cooking – removing the pan from the heat is not enough. You may also toast them in the oven, this is just the way I always do it.
Top salad with pine nuts, tomatoes and feta right before serving. The reason I don’t add them with the other ingredients is that the pine nuts tend to get soggy, the tomatoes can get mushy and not everyone likes feta as much as I do. So, there you have it. Enjoy!

“As she has planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of karma.”
Sri Guru Granth Sahib