I packed this salad full of protein just for you. Contrary to popular belief, protein can be found in foods other than meat. This is the perfect dish if you’re trying to add a few meat-free options to your weekly rotation or if you just want to eat a damn good quinoa salad. Ugh, quinoa.. honestly, it’s not my favorite – the tiny little pieces get all up everywhere in your mouth and you have to swish with water to feel normal again. That’s a small price to pay for how tasty and good for you the stuff is – just eat it. So for the protein-packed salad: Quinoa, red lentils, chickpeas fried in chickpea flour (YES!) almonds, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast are all tossed together. Good stuff. You can eat the salad just like that or do as I did, smother and cover it in this insanely good dressing. Seriously, it’s like the best tahini dressing I’ve had – creamy, tangy, garlicky goodness.
Don’t forget the hemp seeds. I forgot them and had to photoshop them in.
Toss chickpeas in chickpea flour. Kinda cannibalistic but really good.
Toast chickpeas in a bit of your favorite high-heat oil. I used rice bran. When they are crispy and light brown, they’re done and delicious.
Cook the lentils, quinoa and carrot until tender – about 15 to 20 minutes. I start with boiling water to speed the cooking time.
This is the best dressing, ever. Orange juice (fresh squeezed if you’re an over-achiever), garlic, tahini, carrot and salt & pepper. Blend it up.
Mix the cooked lentils and quinoa with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, grated onion, salt & pepper, a dash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
This salad is good just by itself or on a lettuce boat or stuffed in a pita.
Ingredients for the Salad
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup of red lentils
1 can of chickpeas
1 cup of nutritional yeast
1 cup of hemp seeds
1 cup of almonds roughly chopped
1/2 a cup of chickpea flour
1/2 white or yellow onion (grated or finely chopped)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
juice of half a lemon
splash of olive oil
salt & pepper
Ingredients for the Dressing
1/3 cup of orange juice
1 carrot (blanched, boiled or roasted until tender)
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons tahini
salt and pepper to taste
Toss the chickpeas in chickpea flour to coat. Heat a pan with a dash of your favorite high-heat oil (I used rice bran) and fry the chickpeas until light brown and crispy. Add some salt and pepper to them too, garlic powder if you like. While the chickpeas are cooking, thoroughly rinse the lentils and quinoa. I cooked both the cup of lentils and the cup of quinoa together with the carrot in about 3 1/2 cups water. The lentils will cook a little faster. If you want to be fancy cook them separately. If you want to cook your quinoa to perfection, you can read more about how to do that here. After it’s cooked and drained, place the lentil / quinoa mix in a large bowl with a half of a finely chopped or grated onion, garlic powder, generous dash of olive oil, juice of half a lemon and generous salt and pepper. Next add the fried chickpeas, nutritional yeast and hemp seeds. Make the dressing, it’s so good! Combine all dressing ingredients together and blend in your food processor, blender or immersion blender, salt and pepper to taste.
If you want your dressing even creamier and with even more protein, blend in 2 tablespoons of silken tofu.
Photography by Paige Alisa