Lemon Mint Quinoa with Chickpeas and Cucumber

Lemon Mint Quinoa with Chickpeas and Cucumber

It’s been a fantastic and HOT day in the city today, but Growing the Seed was thrilled to be a part of celebrating our Pittsburgh city employees at their health fair.  Athleta brought us out to serve up some delicious food and offer nutrition tidbits to the health fair attendees, and we had a blast doing it!

For those of you who stopped by, thank you!  I loved meeting you all and sharing this food with you.  This is my recipe of the dish I brought.  This one is a standard favorite in my house because it’s healthy, it’s easy, it’s portable, and it’s flexible!  What could be wrong about that????

 

With no further ado, here it is!

Lemon Mint Quinoa with Chickpeas and Cucumber:

* serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 cucumber, washed, peeled, and sliced in halves

1/2c. quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/2c. water or broth

sea salt to taste

1/2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

fresh mint, chopped finely

 

Lemon Shallot Dressing

2 lemons, juiced

1/4-1/2c. olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1t. shallot, finely diced

1/2-1 small garlic clove, finely diced

 

  1.  Start by making  your dressing.  This can be done up to a few days in advance and stored in the fridge.  Making it ahead allows the flavors to meld.
  2. Cook your quinoa.  I prefer to cook mine in a rice cooker or in my Instant Pot on the rice cooker setting.  Otherwise, follow the directions on the container to cook on the stove top.  (Alternatively, did you know you can find pre-made quinoa in the frozen section at Trader Joes???  It’s true!)
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your other ingredients.  Once the quinoa is done, Toss it in a bowl with the dressing.  You can use as much or as little as you would like- it’s all about you and your tastes!
  4. Add your chickpeas and toss with the quinoa.
  5. When ready to serve, top with the halved cucumbers and sprinkle with the fresh mint.
  6. Optional toppings- add chicken, feta cheese, goat cheese, or get fancy with toasted pumpkin seeds or pistachios!  The possibilities are endless!

 

 

Why is this a good meal?

Well, let me get started.  First, this meal is a nutrient dense option!  What does that mean?  It means it is packed full of all those wonderful nutrients your body wants and needs.  Complete source of proteins, quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and it has vitamins and minerals to boot.  This means that when you eat it, you are filling your proverbial health bucket!

Second, it’s extremely versatile.  Don’t like mint?  Try dill.  Or basil. Or thyme.  Or, you get the point.  Right now it’s summer and it’s hot, so cucumber and mint makes sense.  They cool us off and are light in our stomachs.  But as we move more in to fall and winter, you can swap out for more seasonally appropriate options.  Try sweet potatoes and cumin.  Or broccoli and oregano with sun dried tomatoes.  See what I mean?  The beans and quinoa with the Lemon Shallot dressing provide a phenomenal base for just about anything you want to create.

What’s more is that this dish works hot or cold, which means portability!  Make it for dinner tonight and take it for lunch tomorrow.  There, done.  Healthy food, healthy body, healthy mind.

 

Food is meant to be enjoyed, and it’s not something we are meant to labor over or spend hours mathematically calculating.  It should be fast and efficient, it should be easy and accessible, and it should please and fulfill us.  When our bellies are happy, so are our minds.

 

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