Susan, a long-time reader and fellow New Englander, sent me this recipe in early December along with a note: "One of the things I'm grateful for is the Perfect Pantry and you! Here's something that was on our Thanksgiving table which I though you'd enjoy. The source is a New Zealand food magazine called Dish, which we subscribe to online. The dressing came out nice and thick, so it could be a spread or dip. I thinned it with some yogurt for green salad. Hope you try it. I love this stuff!" Though Susan and I have never met (I hope to rectify that), she knows my taste well. I always have a jar of preserved lemons, a popular Moroccan "pickle", curing in the refrigerator, and I loved this vegan and gluten-free vinaigrette. I'm going to try it on pasta salad, too. If you don't have quinoa on hand for the salad, make some quick couscous instead, and if chickpeas aren't your thing, swap in some diced, cooked chicken.
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Susan's notes about the ingredients are in parentheses. I used the full teaspoon of cumin and paprika, too, and I wouldn't change it; I also used fresh mint leaves, half the amount called for in the recipe. Makes approximately 1 cup of vinaigrette. The salad serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as an appetizer.
For the vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp chopped red onion
2 quarters preserved lemon (homemade, everything thrown in except the seeds)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (I used white balsamic. That's what I had.)
1 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
1 crushed clove garlic
1/4 tsp each: ground cumin and paprika (I misread it, put in a full teaspoon each -- I wouldn't change it!)
1/4 cup packed mint leaves (picked at my daughter's this summer, had gone dry)
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
1 7-oz bag of fresh spinach or baby spinach
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. If you wish, add a dollop of plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, or a tablespoon of water, to thin to desired consistency.
To compose the salad, arrange spinach on a plate or platter. Top with chickpeas and quinoa, and drizzle on as much vinaigrette as you like.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Quinoa salad with tomato, feta and parsley
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
Quinoa turkey meatloaf
Slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage
Chicken with preserved lemon tagine
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Grilled wild salmon with preserved lemon relish, from Simply Recipes
Israeli couscous with butternut squash and preserved lemons, from David Lebovitz
Indian style chickpeas, from Cooking with Amy
Lemony chickpea stir-fry, from 101 Cookbooks
Pork and chickpea stew, from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
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