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I found a recipe for this salad online this past summer and I was instantly intrigued. Then I made it, tweaked it, and fell in love. It is light yet satisfying, and it tickles almost all of your taste buds. The ones that should be tickled, anyway.

And by the way, do you love quinoa as much as I do? We buy it in large organic quantities at Costco; it has definitely become a staple in our household. The high protein content makes me feel pretty good about serving it, and the texture is better than rice. I mean, seriously, for my Filipino husband to say that he would never miss rice if he could always have quinoa…well, that, if anything, should convince you to give it a try if you haven’t already. This makes a great stand alone dish, or you can serve it warm or cold along with your favorite protein. It’s very versatile.

Quinoa Salad with Kalamata Olives and Mint
1 c. quinoa
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 c. pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
1 can (14 oz.) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed*
1/4 c. finely diced red onion
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 t. honey
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. fresh mint, thinly sliced

Cook the quinoa: Put quinoa in bowl and cover with water; soak for 15 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer and rinse for 2-3 minutes. Add quinoa and chicken broth to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce to low, cover and cook for 30-35 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff and cool slightly before adding to salad.

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the olive oil until combined. Add the cooled quinoa, tomatoes, chickpeas and olives; stir well. Stir in fresh mint, serve and enjoy!

*Here is where I admit that I don’t love chickpeas. I love hummus and falafel, but don’t super duper enjoy whole chickpeas. If I would have had them on hand, I would have included them in the salad anyway, just because I follow rules like that and I know they’re really healthy. So go for it, embrace and enjoy the chickpea!

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