I picked this recipe from Bon Appétit solely for the smoked paprika dressing. I have no doubt that quinoa can be supremely delicious as well as healthy, but it's never excited me before. Perhaps I just haven't had a successful version of the dish that really elevated it beyond something I should eat. But smoked paprkia dressing with sherry vinegar? That sounds delicious.
The hardest part is actually cooking the quinoa. I don't have a whole lot of experience but you have to rinse, cook, drain, and let it all cool. Not exactly the most complex thing in the whole world, but compared to chopping things up and tossing them in a bowl, it does require some work. The result is a satisfying salad that's oddly filling. Thanks goes to the feta—it lends a nice creaminess to each bite.
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa (about 10 ounces), rinsed and drained
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 (16-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 3/4 cups cucumbers, chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta (about 7 ounces)
- 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and black pepper
Pour the quinoa into a large pot. Top with enough water to cover by an inch, and season with a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Carefully drain quinoa. Spread out on large baking sheet and let cool for a few minutes.
Combine the spinach leaves, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, mint, and half of the feta in a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa and toss well.
Whisk together the vinegar and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve with some more crumbled feta on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste.