Revithosalata - Quinoa-Chickpea Salad
Chickpeas are one of the oldest foods continuously eaten throughout the Aegean islands, and this Greek recipe for chickpea salad, inspired by the traditional foods of Paros, has a decidedly modern twist with the addition of a new ancient grain, quinoa. Quinoa isn’t native to Greece, of course, but with ancient chick peas and a healthy dose of extra virgin Greek olive oil and lots of veggies and herbs, this salad is a winner.
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 or 4 fresh oregano sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup (170 g) dried quinoa, rinsed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 small fennel bulb diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 15 cherry or teardrop tomatoes halved
- 1½ cups (240 g) cooked chickpeas (good-quality canned are fine)
- ½ cup (25 g) any chopped fresh herbs of your choice (basil, mint, oregano, parsley, cilantro, dill, fennel fronds)
- ½ cup pitted chopped kalamata or wrinkled black olives
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup diced feta optional
Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 1 ½ - 2 inches. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a gentle boil, salt the water lightly, and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, until tender and popped. Drain any excess liquid and remove the bay leaves.
While the quinoa is cooking, in a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft.
Combine the quinoa, onion-fennel mixture, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, and herbs in a bowl. Gently stir in the feta, if using.
Season with the lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together the remaining olive oil and vinegar, add to the salad and serve.
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You can add 2 cups (500 ml) of any cooked seafood of your choice, such as calamari, shelled mussels, or shrimp, or any combination thereof.