Does anyone notice a trend here?
A carrot trend, perhaps? That may have something to do with the fact that carrots are often all that we can find in terms of produce at the Superstore. There is also the fact that I love carrots. They are sweet and healthy - a winning combo in my books.
We came back from a trip to Las Vegas a few days ago, so pardon my lack of recipe experiments lately - I was busy eating out, taking in the sights of the Grand Canyon, walking the Vegas strip, seeing a Cirque du Soleil show and relaxing a whole bunch. Tough life. I am actually amazed at how relaxed I came back from this trip. I usually get a bit frazzled coming back home, finding it difficult to get back into the rhythm of things, unpacking, doing laundry, catching up on my studying etc. Not this time though. I am just happy to be home, excited to be in the kitchen again, and eager to run and even go to the gym.
Seeing the amazing things that the Cirque du Soleil performers do with their bodies inspires me to become even fitter - and noticing how much poor quality food is around (especially in Vegas!) makes me want to eat even better.
Which brings me back to the carrot salad. It is high in protein (from the chickpeas and the quinoa), with lots of healthy fats (from the walnuts and the olive oil), and you get a good dose of beta-carotene (good for your night vision, amongst other things). And if you weren't sold already: it has raisins it it.
Carrot and Quinoa Salad: (serves 4-5)
For the salad:
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots (3 or 4 large carrots)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup raisins
- a handful of parsley and chopped walnuts, for garnish
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- back pepper, to taste
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. One package of quinoa usually yields about 3 cups cooked, so you will end up with leftover quinoa if you cook the whole package. It's a good thing in my opinion (quinoa chocolate cupcakes, anyone?). Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, chickpeas, carrots and raisins. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two if you can.
In the food processor, combine all the dressing ingredients and process until smooth.
Mix it all together and garnish with parsley and walnuts.
Here's to a great week ahead!