When in Lebanon, eat as your dietitian blogging friends do. Bad attempt in rephrasing the old proverb, I know, but that’s what was happening the past few weeks. Paty, Nour and I are working together on a new project which I am so excited about and we will be announcing by next week. Of course all our meetings have to include food in one way or another. After the Fair Trade expo and the Food Revolution Beirut (and the 5K, yes we have to burn off the calories!) , we met two weeks ago at Joanna’s table in Gemmayzeh. I loved everything about the place from its homey atmosphere to its healthy choice of dishes and Joanna’s welcoming smile.
I ordered the quinoa salad with mixed vegetables and brought home some quinoa (keen-wah , pronounced the same in Arabic) from her small range of organic, local and homemade produce.
Joanna’s table quinoa salad with fresh greens and mushrooms, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini and pomegranate seeds.
So last Monday, I cooked some quinoa and adzuki beans hoping to add some grilled vegetables and some greens and call it lunch. But again, the Lebanese summer decided otherwise and they had to sit in the fridge for another day. On Tuesday, the ladies and I met again but this time in Hamra so we can attend the Earth Food Market which opens every Tuesday from 9 am till 2 pm. Farmers from different regions from Lebanon gather in this small alleyway to sell their organic fruits and vegetables and homemade food (labneh, zaatar, natural nut butters, jams,… baked goods and pastries).
That’s me at the market drinking freshly squeezed orange juice for charity. I’m loving the fact that Juice for Charity are always present in such events. This time, they were supporting Operation Big Blue, an association working on the protection of the Lebanese coastline and marine life.
Some of the organic produce I got: dandelions, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, baby carrots and potatoes.
I had a different idea in mind for the salad but since I had these vegetables on hand, I decided to use them up and keep it simple. I think the addition of avocados will work great, so will the use of arugula (rocca) instead of the dandelions. Surely enough, a whole wide mix of greens will work perfectly, from lettuce to purslane to wild thyme, basil and mint.
Ingredients (for two servings or 1 large portion for an extremely hungry person )
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup cooked adzuki beans
- a handful cherry tomatoes
- a few sprigs of parsley, leaves picked
- a few dandelion greens (leaves torn) (hindbeh in Arabic)
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste
*Just a note: I cooked a lot more quinoa and beans than the quantities stated here. I saved a couple of portions for my baby girl and had leftovers to use up in other dishes through the week.
Wash 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa thoroughly under cool water. Cook the quinoa covered on medium heat with 1 cup water for about 20 minutes.
Soak the beans the night before, rinse, add cool water and cook for about 40 minutes. If you didn’t think of soaking them the night before, you can do the quick soak method. Add water to the adzuki beans and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and leave them to soak for about two hours. Throw out the soaking water and add clean water. Return to the heat and cook. I was anxious to cook the beans so I did not wait the whole two hours and they cooked out nicely. I guess it’s because the adzuki variety have an outer membrane that isn’t as tough as the other kinds of beans.
Mix the quinoa and beans and let them cool. Add the cherry tomatoes. Cut the ones that are too big in half.
Take a handful of parsley and pick the leaves. Discard the stems.
Tear the leaves of a handful of dandelion greens. No need for a knife. Your hands will do the trick. Discard the thick stems. You can of course add more dandelions or arugula making it a green salad with quinoa and beans.
Add all dressing ingredients and mix the salad. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later.