Quinoa is a favorite of many with good reason. It’s a grain (actually a seed) that is loaded with protein and is gluten-free. It is easy to prepare and is the perfect blank canvas for many creative additions.
I love it in a salad because it can stand up to big tastes like the ones in this recipe. There is an explosion of tastes and textures, yet there is also a pleasant balance of flavors. Grilling the corn and mushrooms gave them both a flavor boost. The chewiness of the mushrooms gave the dish a “meaty” feel and the tomatoes and onions gave it just the right amount of crunch. Quinoa is innately toothsome and was a perfect counterbalance.
I opted for a vinaigrette liberally laced with lemon and rosemary and a big hint of garlic to keep with the Mediterranean theme. You could use another bean, maybe cannellini if you were so inclined. The addition of a little cheese, perhaps feta, wouldn’t be a sin either. As with all of my recipes, I want you to make it your own.
This would make a wonderful side dish at a cookout, but it would be equally at home starring as they main attraction.
Cook the quinoa in the vegetable stock according to the package directions adding the lemon peel, crushed garlic, and rosemary sprig at the beginning of cooking. Once it is cooked, remove the garlic, lemon, and rosemary as well as any un-absorbed broth and transfer into a large bowl.
Trim the stems on the mushrooms. Cut any very large ones in half. Toss with the olive oil and grill in a basket over medium heat until lightly browned. Add to the bowl of quinoa.
Spray the ears of corn lightly with cooking spray and grill over medium heat until lightly charred on all sides. Allow to cool slightly. Cut the kernels off the cob and add them to the quinoa bowl.
Drain the artichoke hearts well and roughly chop them before adding them to the bowl along with the red onions and garbanzo beans.
Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl
Toss the ingredients together gently. Add the dressing and toss once more. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small food processor. Blend until the dressing is smooth. There will be small flecks of rosemary...that is a good thing.
Heat a good amount of salted water to boiling in a large pot. Add the green beans and return to a boil. Cook 2-3 minutes until they are just barely tender crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and place in an ice water bath.
Add the potatoes into the same pot and cook until tender 10 -12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Spread them out on a dish towel to dry and cool slightly.
Cut the potatoes in half and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the green beans to the bowl along with the onions.
In a jar combine the olive oil, vinegars, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice. cover tightly and shake until well blended.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat everything. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to let the flavors blend.
Remove salad from refrigerator an hour or so before serving. The flavor is best at almost room temperature.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse and put in a large bowl.
Slice the onion lengthwise into narrow strips and add them to the pasta in the bowl.
Slice the peppers into thin strips abut the same size as the onions and add them to the bowl.
Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on the size of the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
Add the garbanzo beans, chicken, and olives to the bowl and toss to combine everything.
Dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to blend everything. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to serve, add the torn lettuce leaves and toss once more. Divide between two plates and sprinkle with the Romano cheese.
To make the garlic oil: Place olive oil and smashed garlic cloves in a small pan. Cook over low heat until the garlic is lightly browned and the oil has become fragrant. Allow to cool before removing the garlic. (use the garlic in marinades or as a seasoning)
Precook the potatoes: Cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. In Place the potatoes and a little water in a microwave friendly container. Cover loosely and steam in the microwave for 4 minutes or so. The potatoes should be barely tender. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the veggies for the grill: Slice the squash in 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. Trim the ends off of the beans. Cut the onion in half lengthwise. Halve or quarter the peppers.
Heat a grilling basket and a flat grate on the grill. Coat with olive oil cooking spray. Take 1/2 tablespoon of the infused olive oil and toss with the potato chunks. Use the rest of the oil to brush the vegetable slices.
Put the potatoes in the basket and the vegetables on the grate. Grill, tossing the potatoes and turning the vegetables occasionally. It should take about 15 minutes to have everything turn golden.
Remove the vegetables to a cutting board. Cut in chunks that are about the same size as the potatoes. Place in a large serving bowl along with the potato chunks.
Add some freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt and toss to combine everything. Drizzle the balsamic over everything and enjoy!