Because a Spring obsession has taken over my brain and every thought, along with an obsession for my newly discovered giardiniera, I thought it was only appropriate to turn my loves into a healthy, hearty salad.
This salad is packed with nutrition from the quinoa, giardiniera, fresh herbs, avocado, tomato, and cucumber. I’m a HUGE fan of fresh herbs in salads like my Soba Noodle Hummus Salad and Lebanese Tabbouleh. You just can’t beat the flavor and I am super excited about our upcoming annual herb garden! Oh cilantro, why do you have to be so difficult to grow? Why can’t you be like mint and parsley? Sorry about my sideline discussion in my mind with my frenemy, the cilantro plant….. Getting back on track, here’s a picture of giardiniera we make.
I had some plain couscous on hand (which is not the large Israeli style) so I wanted to try mixing the two together, but feel free to use all quinoa or pasta, like orzo. Feta cheese adds a creamy, salty flavor and is a must. I kept this vegetarian because I think every now and then I need a break from meat, but cold cuts like ham, pepperoni, and prosciutto would complement this very well.
Like I mentioned in the Cheesy Lebanese Kofta and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers post, I’m new to the quinoa party. I know, I know where have you been? Maybe I didn’t get the invite, but regardless, I’m always late to the party. Now that I’m here, I’m kinda diggin’ it, especially now that I can pronounce it.
For some reason I am incapable of cooking any rice, grain, or seed the way the package says to. I end up with mushy-mushata, not-pleasant-on-the-palate texture. Wah. So I boil it like pasta, as demonstrated in the Basmati Rice post and video, then drain it in my handy mesh strainer that I picked up at a garage sale for a quarter (love!). Every time I cook these boiling-required grainy, seedy things like I do pasta, I’m happy with the results, so that’s how I roll And in this recipe I get really wacky and cook the quinoa and couscous together. Stop the madness!! The things I do to avoid using another pot or pan… Doesn’t it rock when things works out?
Here’s to the small victories in life, Spring, new friends like giardiniera and quinoa, and easy, healthy salads!
- ¼ cup dry quinoa
- ¼ cup dry couscous
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2½ cups giardiniera
- ⅓ cup feta cheese, chopped/crumbled
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 7 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add quinoa and cook 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add couscous. Cover and allow to sit 5 minutes.
- Drain through a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Shake as much water out as possible.
- Place quinoa and couscous in a large bowl and allow to sit 15 minutes then stir in ¼ tsp. salt.
- Add remaining ingredients and give a good toss. Add oil from the giardiniera to taste and adjust seasoning. You may want to add a little sugar, start with ¼ tsp.