Friday, May 25, 2012

Green Goddess Goodness

Quinoa and Kale Salad with Avocado Lime Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing
Okay, so technically "Green Goddess Dressing" is given its characteristic green hue from a variety of herbs, in particular, tarragon. Now . . . I've got absolutely nothing against the classic anchovy and sour cream-infused dressing/dip/amazing condiment, but I wanted to see how I did with a vegan version. This dressing is made creamy and satisfying with a nice, ripe avocado. Tossed together with fresh seasonal kale, crunchy cucumbers, and a hearty helping of quinoa, this is a salad truly fit for any green goddess!

- 3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
- juice from one lime
- salt and pepper
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted, then sliced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 bunch fresh chives, minced
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 14.5 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 c. uncooked quinoa
- 1 bunch fresh kale, leaves removed from stems and torn into 3" pieces

In a small dish or blender place minced shallot, chives, cilantro, lime juice, and white balsamic vinegar. Pulse to a puree with a blender or an immersion blender. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. of salt and several grinds of fresh ground pepper. Add avocado and blend until dressing becomes smooth and creamy. Thin out with olive oil and season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.

In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 c. of uncooked quinoa with 2 c. of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce to low. Simmer for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, bring a skillet with about 2" of salted water to a boil. Add kale pieces to boiling water, cover, and blanch for 1-2 minutes until kale is bright green. Remove from heat and drain water in a colander over sink. Immediately rinse with cold water.

Combine cooked quinoa, garbanzo beans, cooked kale, and diced cucumber in a medium serving bowl. Toss ingredients to combine. Pour half of the dressing over the salad, toss ingredients together. Pour remaining dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. This "side dish" makes for a great lunch on its own or perfect for dinner along side chicken or a tasty cut of seared salmon.

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