Quinoa and Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

12 Oct

One of my favorite things to hear as someone tries something I’ve made is: “This is actually really good.”  I usually don’t like when people make a big deal about something I’ve made . I strive to make things delicious and, as often as possible, beautiful, and love for people to enjoy my cooking, yet praise makes me uncomfortable.  I’m most often cooking more for myself (the satisfaction of creating and feeding) than anything else. But that one phrase always makes me smile.

I know it doesn’t sound like a complement, but it is a major victory. It means I’ve turned something abhorrent (read healthy, vegetable filled, vegan, or even, gasp, gluten-free) into something pleasurable. And that is something to celebrate.

~

I can’t believe I only just discovered roasted chickpeas.  They are incredibly easy to make and are freaking delicious.  Simply rinse a can of chickpeas, pat dry, roast at 375 for roughly 40 mins, tossing once or twice, and then season with basically anything – sweet or savory.

They would be fantastic to just eat as a snack but I used them as a salad ingredient (to replace the crunchiness of nuts) and they shone. Seriously.  I immediately went and stocked my cabinet with cans of chickpeas so I can add these to the weekly repertoire.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup tri-color quinoa (I used a TJ’s mix, but you can use any color or mix your own), rinsed well

1 can chickpeas (16 oz), rinsed and dried on paper towels

3 scallions, sliced thinly

small shallot (or 1/2 of large one), chopped finely

about 3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)

2 tsp honey

salt

pepper

cumin

red chile powder

cayenne pepper

Directions:

Roast dried chickpeas at 375 degrees on foil lined baking sheet for about 40 mins, tossing once or twice to prevent burning, until crispy.  Test them to make sure they are crunchy and don’t have the typical bean texture.  Toss with 1 tbsp oil and a mixture of cumin, red chile powder, and cayenne pepper (roughly 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp of the spicier stuff).

Meanwhile, toss sweet potatoes with about 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle with cumin and red chile powder. Put on foil lined baking sheet and stick in with the chickpeas. Roast about 30 mins, until cooked through and golden, tossing once.

While these are both in the oven, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Add quinoa and simmer for  about 15 mins with lid on (until white strands show).  Drain and put back in pot with lid. Let sit until the rest of the dish is ready.

Whisk 1 tbsp oil, vinegar, shallots, honey, and a dash of salt and pepper together, until emulsified.

Put quinoa in large bowl and toss with scallions, sweet potatoes, and dressing.  Add cumin and chile powder to taste.  Top with chickpeas (pop a few in your mouth as you go) and toss again just before serving.

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