Grains and Greens Intro:
This recipe for Grains & Greens: Baby Lettuces, Blood Oranges, Quinoa & Chickpeas is part of a series that we will be adding to as we go along called Grains & Greens. This all came about last summer when I was hankering for fresh, green salads but also wanted a protein component. I wanted to keep the dish light but also filling. I found that by combining a good amount of fresh greens with cooked grains and then riffing from there produced some excellent results.
Check out our Explore an Ingredient page on Quinoa. It is a favorite grain around here. It is jam-packed with nutrition and is super easy to make. We also have a basic Cooking Quinoa recipe for you to reference. If you haven’t added it to your regular rotation, we encourage you to give it a go and this dish is a perfect jumping off point.
Contrast – Color & Texture
We love dishes that wake up our senses and contrasting colors and textures do just that. This salad uses baby lettuces, in all their varied colors and shapes and textures, and combines them with cooked quinoa. That’s your Grains & Greens base. To that we have added juicy blood orange slices and a smattering of chickpeas to up the protein factor even more. Just make sure to use canned chickpeas and drain and rinse them (and drain them again) well. This keeps their water-soluble fructans in check.
Side Dish or Vegetarian or Vegan Main Dish
This could be a hearty side dish, or it could be a main dish for lunch or a light dinner. It is also perfect for our vegetarian and vegan friends.
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Grains & Greens: Baby Lettuces, Blood Oranges, Quinoa & Chickpeas
A beautiful, protein-packed salad that can be served either as a hearty side or vegan/vegetarian main dish.
- Have the quinoa cooked and cooled to room temperature.
- Toss the cooled quinoa and lettuces in a large mixing bowl.
- Drain the canned chickpeas. Rinse them under cool water, drain again and gently pat dry. Add them to the salad.
- Cut the peel and white pith away from the oranges. Use a sharp knife to cut into rounds about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick, saving any juices if you can. Measure out 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the Sherry Vinaigrette and add any collected orange juices to the vinaigrette.
- If you want to place the salad bowl on a buffet, cut the orange rounds into quarters and add them to the salad; dress the salad lightly with the vinaigrette. If you want to make the presentation a little fancier (as in our top image), dress the salad without the oranges, plate the salad and arrange orange slices on top and serve immediately. You might not need all of the dressing or you might want a little extra! Make it to your liking. Any extra dressing will find a home on any of your favorite green salads.
You can use navel oranges, of course, which are easier to find. You will lose out on the spectacular sunset color of the blood oranges, but navels will work quite well. Other citrus such as Mandarins or clementines could be substituted as well.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.