Grocery and farmer’s market shopping are things that I adore doing.  It’s not odd for me to spend up to (and sometimes more than) three hours in any given supermarket/specialty food/health food store.  My husband thinks that I am nuts but I don’t care and he reaps the benefits of my attention to detail when shopping and later on when he consumes what I cook.

Living at the beach has its benefits of course and I am grateful everyday that I wake up to hear the waves breaking.  Three small markets grace the area that I live in and while well stocked they are also a bit higher in price than I’d pay on the mainland.  That being said, this recipe ends my cache of fresh vegetables.  It’s a delicious combination of red quinoa, chickpeas, leftover whole wheat penne pasta, onions, jalapeno, and citrus juice with smoky hits of cumin.  It would make great picnic fare and will surely show up in my lunches once the school year starts again.  I stirred in some spinach and basil in the end and served a fillet pan fried mahi-mahi.

Red Quinoa Chickpea Salad

Quinoa

1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
1-1/4 c. water

In a medium saucepan add the rinsed quinoa to the water and bring to a boil.  Drop heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes

The Rest

1 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 handful sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
few grindings of black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
cooked quinoa
15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked whole wheat penne pasta, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 big handfuls spinach or arugula
1 handful basil, finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

In a large skillet heat olive oil until shimmering over medium high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until onions translucent, about 5-6 minutes.   Add the jalapeno, sun-dried tomato, salt, and pepper.   Add the cumin and cook another 5 minutes or so.  Add the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, and chopped pasta and give a good stir.  Add the orange and lemon juice.  Lastly add the spinach, basil, and almonds.

Take off heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving to let flavors meld.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

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