The search for a better lunch continues, and this time I whipped up a vegetarian option: Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing. If you have read the past couple articles I’ve posted, then you know how sick of lunch meat sandwiches I have gotten. If not, catch up with all the latest gossip here (bonus is you get to see my Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe).
I have been a quinoa fan for as long as I have been able to pronounce the word correctly. So about 3 years. Those who eat it know that while it is extremely healthy, it can be a little bland. I had also been hearing great things about Tahini, which I found out 6 days ago is just ground sesame seeds. Who knew? It has a great nutty taste (some say it’s bitter too, but I honestly didn’t pick up on that) and combining quinoa and tahini (along with a handful of other ingredients) made for a fresh and healthy lunch. I actually added some Simple Soy Sauce Basil Chicken to my lunches this past week to pack in a little more protein.
Oh yea, and the chickpeas, I almost forgot. Chickpeas are great in salads and ground up as a dip (aka, hummus), and they also go great in this “salad” and add some welcomed texture and protein.
I am pretty proud of the simplicity of this recipe too. I did not need to cook anything except for the quinoa. Besides that, it was just a fair amount of chopping and mixing.
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I also like to use fresh basil when I can. It’s actually much more affordable than buying the dried spice if you buy the whole plant. It takes a little bit of nurturing to ensure the thing doesn’t die, but lucky for me my wife has a green thumb and takes care of all the herbs in our window cill.
Alright, let’s take a look at the nutrition in this Basil Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing (6 servings):
- Calories: 249.4
- Total Fat: 9.6 g
- Total Carbs: 33.6 g
- Protein: 8.7 g
- Total Sugar: 2.2 g
All around, this is another healthy recipe from the nutrition label perspective. The calories are coming from healthy fats (feta + olive oil), wholesome carbs (chickpeas + quinoa) and sustaining protein (quinoa + others). The sugar is super low in this dish, which is awesome because sugar is a tough thing to avoid when eating. Plus, you’re getting some vegetables from the spinach that is included here.
Let’s get economical with this Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing:
- 1 cup quinoa – $2.40
- 2 tbsp fresh basil (finely chopped) – $0.65
- 1 cup chopped spinach – $0.99
- 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) – $1.49
- 1/3 cups feta (crumbled) – $0.99
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (raw or toasted) – $0.50
- 3 tbsp olive oil – $0.70
- Juice of 1 lemon – $0.99
- 2 tbsp tahini – $0.43
- 1 garlic clove – $0.10
- Salt and pepper
The grand total is $9.24. This breaks down to about $1.54 per serving assuming you get 6 servings out of this recipe.
I know the list of ingredients looks long at first, but when you break it down between the salad and the dressing, it’s only 6 ingredients for the salad and 4 for the dressing. If you want to cut a couple of things to make this cheaper/easier, I’d leave out the spinach from the salad and the garlic from the dressing (although I really do think both bring some great flavor to the dish!).