When I worked as an attorney, I ate lunch at my desk almost every single day. Most of the time, the food I ate wasn’t very healthy. It was heavily processed, high in sodium (think frozen lunches, canned soups, or even chips and crackers). By the time 2pm rolled around, I would feel exhausted, bloated, and crabby. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about!
If only I had known that I could avoid the mid-afternoon doldrums with just a little bit of planning. (Actually I probably did know that, I was just too miserable to do anything about it.) Anyway, this recipe is something I think I will make every week for both myself and my husband, whose office eating habits are even worse than mine used to be.
I call this the 3-2-1 salad because the recipe makes 3 salads for 2 people in under 1 hour, AND for less than $15 (assuming you’ve got olive oil and vinegar or your favorite dressing on hand). This simple, budget friendly recipe is vegan (of course), gluten free, soy free and sugar free. Plus, each salad is full of my two favorite nutrients: protein and fiber.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Makes 6 salads
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into very small florets
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into very small florets
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 C red quinoa
1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 C kalamata olives
3/4 C julienne sliced sundried tomatoes
1/2 C shelled pistachios or other nuts of your choice (optional)
Dressing ingredients: (or use your favorite dressing)
1 C cilantro, chopped
1/2 C olive oil (probably less)
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
3-4 cloves garlic
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1) Combine ingredients for dressing in a food processor (except for olive oil). Drizzle in olive oil, a few tablespoons at a time, while pulsing food processor. Taste test every so often and stop adding olive oil when the spice becomes milder. Chill dressing for at least 30 minutes.
2) Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas, and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, put quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
4) In a food processor, combine artichoke hearts and olives until minced. You could also chop by hand.
5) Create Salad #1 (left photo) by layering the quinoa, artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes, and half the kale. (This salad would probably be fine without dressing. I just put a bit of extra oil from the sundried tomatoes in mine.)
6) Create Salad #2 (middle photo) by layering the remaining kale, chickpeas, chopped red pepper, and pistachios.
7) Create Salad #3 (right photo) by layering the white beans, kidney beans, broccoli and cauliflower.
8) Refrigerate salads and dressing until ready to serve. Each salad should last a few days. When you’re ready to eat, just add a bit of dressing to the jar, close the lid, and shake it up!