Greens + Beans Quinoa Salad [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

You all remember my friend Lauren, right? My ‘fast and furious’ adult friend whose Costa Rica wedding I am attending in exactly 9 days? #myhappyplace.

Well, every Tuesday night I head over to Lauren’s apartment to watch Homeland. And for the record, yes, I know that’s two full days after it airs but I think part of watching Homeland is learning to deal with suspense.

Anyway… we open a bottle of wine [so Carrie of us] and enjoy a home-cooked meal while we watch Carrie fall apart, Sal try to keep it together, Dana struggle with teenage angst and the pressure of having a suspected terrorist for a father, and Brody.. well, we aren’t really sure what Brody is doing.

It’s hands down the best night of the week.

For the last couple of weeks, Adam and Lauren have made dinner for me. Just as I was starting to feel like the ultimate free loader, Lauren called on me to help prepare dinner this past Tuesday. You can read all about the squash fiasco [and see more beautiful pictures] on Lauren’s blog, but what we’re concerned with here is the quinoa.

My mom and I made up this recipe a few months ago when my brothers + their significant others decided to come to dinner last minute. We had some greens, some beans, and some grains. We also had a hankering for something light with a bite. Apparently we also rhyme, but that ain’t a crime.

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The vinaigrette is the key. Other than that, here’s the beauty of this salad:

1. You can use any grain you want. I think last time I used Farro, this week it was quinoa.

2. You can use any greens you want. Chard? Kale? Spinach? Asparagus? Yes, yes, yes, and heck yes.

3. You can use any bean you want…. Edamame, Black-Eyed Peas, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas… whatever!

So basically what I’m saying is you don’t even need me. You can do whatever you want and it will be great.

I think I just wrote myself out of a job?

Greens + Beans Quinoa Salad

Serves 6

1 c. dry quinoa

1 c. water

1 can white beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups kale

1 head broccoli

2 lemons, juiced

2 T. olive oil

3 T. red wine vinegar

¼ t. red pepper flakes [to taste]

1/8 t. black pepper [to taste]

½ t. salt  [to taste]

Cook the quinoa according to the directions while you prepare the beans + greens.

Drain and rinse the beans. Add to a large bowl. Slice the kale into thin strips, and cut the broccoli into bite size florets.

Heat a skillet with a little oil over medium heat, and add the garlic. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and add the broccoli. Cook the broccoli for 3 -5 minutes until it is tender, but still bright green. Add the kale, and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan into the bowl with the beans.

Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl with the beans + greens, and pour over dressing. Toss well. Allow the salad to rest for 5 minutes or so, taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly.

To all the Homeland-ers out there… WHO SAW THAT COMING?! Not me. I ate like 4 cookies after the episode I was so distressed.