Wednesday, March 30, 2011

recipe for #winning: curried chickpea and quinoa salad

Curried chickpea and quinoa salad

Last week I gave you some recipes for your March Madness viewing parties, but there's a different kind of March Madness going on at my office.  I am fortunate enough to have a fitness facility at my workplace, one that offers a variety of cardio equipment, weights, group exercise classes, personal training, and promotional programs.  Each year, the gym puts on a March Madness competition, a friendly fierce contest running concurrently with the NCAA tournament.  Teams of three rack up points for participating in various exercise programs, and after the final basketball game, the top three teams with the most points win prizes.   This year, the top prize is an iPod, followed by a free six-month locker rental at the facility and a massage from the therapist that comes to our facility.  Needless to say, my two teammates and I want a prize.  For additional incentive, we have a head-to-head competition with another threesome from our office in which the losing team buys Happy Hour for the winning team.

We're working out a lot, so we need good, clean food to give us energy.  This recipe, inspired by Whole Foods' curried chicken salad, has given me endless fuel over the past couple of weeks.  I'm no dietician, but  this salad is a nutritional all-star, as it provides a healthy mixture of fats, complex carbs, and proteins.  It's sure to power any athlete through a tough workout and still have energy remaining for the rest of the day - #winning!  I've polished off the whole recipe over the last week - once over spinach, once in a wrap, and once on its own.  I think I like it over spinach leaves the best, though they were all three quite tasty, and the one in a wrap was slightly more filling.

Curried Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
Makes about four cups, or 3-4 servings

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 diced red bell pepper
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + 3/4 cup stock (yields about 1 1/3 cup cooked quinoa)
6 ounces plain greek yogurt
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
small drizzle honey

1.  Prepare quinoa according to package directions or see my instructions for Ecuadorian quinoa here.
2.  Once quinoa is cooked, combine with first six ingredients in a large bowl.
3.  In a small bowl, prepare the yogurt curry sauce.  Stir the curry powder, lemon juice and honey into the greek yogurt.
4.  Pour yogurt sauce over the quinoa-chickpea mixture and toss to combine.

Note:  Since this salad is made with greek yogurt as opposed to mayonnaise, you may find that it is a little dry if you eat it more than 4-6 hours after you prepare it.  In that case, I'd recommend mixing in a small squeeze of mayonnaise right before you eat it. 

Who's in favor of #winning?  When you know you're going to have a tough workout, what do you like to eat to keep you going?

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