Toasted Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds

Trying a new recipes doesn’t always have to involve many new ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. In fact, often the flavors that you turn to most often can be combined in unique ways to create a flavorful yet simple medley.

This recipe is just that — a salad made with ingredients that I buy on almost every grocery store run, yet I’d never combined them in this arrangement. Another notable addition is the toasted quinoa. I often cook with quinoa, but rarely do I toast it. Going that extra mile adds a nutty flavor and crunchy texture. I encourage you to experiment with not only new ingredients but new cooking processes as well.

Toasted Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup quinoa
> 1 cup unsalted slivered almonds
> pomegranate seeds from 1 large pomegranate
> 4 cups wild arugula
> juice from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups water. Once cooked, heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and stir. Toast the quinoa for about 4 minutes. Be careful not to brown the quinoa. Cool quinoa on a large plate.

In a small pan, toast the almonds over medium heat. Keep a close eye on the almonds since they blacken quickly.

Mix together the quinoa, almonds, pomegranate seeds and arugula. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Combine and season with salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Eat Drink Garden.

Roasted Chickpea, Farro and Arugula Salad with Avocado

While winter often calls for heartier, more fattening dishes, salads are still my go-to meal because they are filled with vegetables and easy to whip up at the end of the day. To create the same savory factor that an eggplant parmesan or tomato bisque, I use spices that have a kick and incorporate roasted vegetables or grains. This salad combines roasted chickpeas, nutty farro, crisp arugula and plump tomatoes.

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Ingredients:

> 1 can chickpeas, drained
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1/4 tablespoon cumin
> 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
> 1/4 tablespoon paprika
> 1/4 tablespoon chili powder
> salt and pepper
> 1/2 cup farro
> 3 cups arugula
> 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
> 1 avocado, cut in bite-size pieces
> 1/4 tablespoon dijon mustard
> 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
> 1/4 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Put chickpeas in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add cumin, curry powder, paprika and chili powder to medium bowl, and mix until well combined. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine farro with 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. In a large bowl, combine arugula, cherry tomatoes, roasted chickpeas and cooked farro.

To make dressing, whisk together mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix dressing into salad, and top with avocado.

Makes 3 servings.

Original recipe.

It’s Fall Time: Quinoa, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad

With summer behind us and the rainy fall weather here, the days of enjoying strawberries from the basket are replaced with roasting squash and making soups. Salads no longer have peaches and nectarines but rather persimmons and pomegranates. After volunteering at the culinary demo with CUESA, I took home three large, ripe pomegranates that were asking to be eaten right away.

Deseeding pomegranates can be quite a process, but thanks to the market chef at CUESA, Carrie, I learned a new technique. Many of us are familiar with submerging the sliced pomegranate under water to remove the seeds. The new technique — which is also great for getting aggression out — is to whack the outside of the pomegranate with a meat tenderizer or a lemon squeezer, letting the seeds fall into a large bowl.

Once the seeds were ready for my use, I decided to make a salad full of roasted and savory fall flavors. The red quinoa, toasted almonds and pomegranate seeds are the essence of the season, while the refreshing arugula and light lemon dressing are reminders of summer left behind.

Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup red quinoa, uncooked
> 1 cup slivered almonds, unsalted and toasted
> 1 cup pomegranate seeds from one large pomegranate
> 4 cups arugula
> juice from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to the package. Combine quinoa, almonds, pomegranate seeds and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil atop, and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from PopSugar.