This colorful salad is a show-stopper. Make it for your next potluck or picnic, or amaze your family for dinner any night of the week. The recipe makes 12 portions, and you’re going to want to eat them all. Even after it’s dressed, this salad stores well for up to three days. Quinoa and chickpeas give it a hearty serving of protein. We love the juicy tomatoes and cucumber, but the stars of the recipe are the piquant paprika dressing and the full cup of torn mint leaves. We think once you taste this salad, you’ll want to add mint to all of your salads.
Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Chickpeas, and Paprika Dressing
Total Time: 4 hrs. 26 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 16 min.
Yield: 12 servings, about 1 cup each
1½ cups dry quinoa
Sea salt (to taste; optional), divided use
¼ cup sherry wine vinegar
2½ tsp. paprika
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups raw baby spinach leaves, washed, dried
2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
1 medium cucumber, unpeeled, chopped
2½ cups halved cherry (or small heirloom) tomatoes
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1½ cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese, divided use
1. Place quinoa in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 1-inch. Season with salt if desired. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and gently boil for 15 to 16 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Drain if there is excess liquid. Chill, covered in the refrigerator, for 4 hours or until cool.
2. Combine vinegar, and paprika in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired; slowly whisk in oil to blend. Set aside.
3. Combine spinach, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, mint, and 1 cup cheese in a large bowl; mix well.
4. Add cooled quinoa to spinach mixture; toss gently to blend.
5. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to blend.
6. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese over salad; serve immediately.
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Photos by Kirsten Morningstar.