Favorite Quinoa Salad – Cookie and Kate

1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander (could sub brown rice)
2 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (could sub black beans?)
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped fairly small
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped fairly small
¾ cup chopped red onion (from 1 small red onion) fairly small
(Could also add blanched asparagus, chopped?)
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (from 1 large bunch)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
(Could add avocado on top; also, toasted, chopped pecans?)
(Could also add feta cheese for zing)

To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, to give it time to fluff up.

In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk until blended, then set aside.

Once the quinoa is mostly cool, add it to the serving bowl, and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with black pepper, to taste, and add an extra pinch of salt if necessary (can add avocado now, as well as feta?). For best flavor, let the salad rest in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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