Oh, boy. We need a break.
Well, I need a break. Do you need a break? Let's take a break.
I am talking about salad.
November flew by in a haze of butter and sage, and now we are left trying to fit into our jeans before another round of holiday gluttony/cheer. I am hitting pause this week and sneaking in something healthy before turning my full attention to Christmas cookies.
This salad combines all of my favorite things, smartly adding protein-packed items like quinoa and chickpeas to help bulk up salad greens.
It also contains pickled carrots, a term that I am not very fond of because I find that people can get a little weird when you say something is pickled. In this case, all that means is that raw carrots get added to a bowl of red wine vinegar (you could use white wine vinegar, too, or pretty much any flavored version you have) for about 15 minutes. They absorb a subtle vinegary kick, and the rest of the vinegar gets used as a dressing for the salad.
I will never stop being surprised by how good a simple oil-and-vinegar salad dressing really is, especially with a flavored vinegar and lots of salt and pepper. Pistachios and chickpeas give this dish some great texture, and feta rounds things out with a salty bite. I've also used goat cheese, too, and it works beautifully.
Really, I was just so thrilled to have some bright, crunchy ingredients on a plate this time of year. I have been thoroughly enjoying the carb bonanza of the past few weeks, but every once in a while it's nice to come up for a breathe of fresh air.
Arugula, Carrot and Chickpea Salad
1 cup quinoa
⅔ cup red wine vinegar
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 large carrots, shaved into ribbons
2 pitas, split horizontally
¼ cup olive oil, divided
5 ounces baby arugula
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup roasted, salted pistachios, roughly chopped
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, pepper and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add carrots and let stand 15 minutes.
Turn on broiler, or heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush pitas on one side with 1 tablespoon oil and season with a pinch of salt each; place on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 5 minutes (keep an eye on them!).
Drain carrots, reserving ¼ cup of the liquid. Place arugula, chickpeas and quinoa on a plate. Add reserved pickling liquid and remaining 3 tablespoons oil and ½ teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Top with pistachios and feta, and serve with pita.
Source: Adapted from Real Simple