A few months ago I became infatuated with dried cherries after discovering them at the Queen Vic markets. Then a number of weeks later they popped up on the shelf at Safeway for the first time. Unsurprisingly, the supermarket-sourced cherries weren't quite as tasty and they've languished in the pantry for the intervening month or so. While I didn't want to waste dark chocolate on them, my inferior fruits were worthy of this quinoa salad from Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit. I proved less well suited to the task, completely overestimating our quinoa reserves and having to substitute most of it with couscous.
While I'd prefer to rely solely on the super-nutritious quinoa, our salad didn't suffer at all from pasta problems - there are just too many other great ingredients going on here. Chickpeas and spinach are staples in this home, and add welcome bulk and texture; the lemon-yoghurt dressing is my ideal partner for quinoa. However the star couple at this party are the dried cherries and roasted almonds: even the briefest sit in this moist mixture has the cherries softening from their leathery state, while the creamy almonds maintained their crunch even after floating in this dressed salad for a day.
Be warned that the crushed raw garlic thoroughly infuses this dish, making it a risky take-to-work lunch. It's a bit of extra effort but using roasted garlic might create a milder, sweeter and more sociable salad.
Dried cherry quinoa salad
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed (use cous cous if you're desperate)
2 cups spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 cucumber; peeled, deseeded and diced finely
1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup natural yoghurt (soy or dairy)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Prepare the quinoa and/or couscous (separately!) using the directions on the packet and allow it to cool.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and toss the other salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss further to combine.
Let the salad sit for half an hour to let the flavours develop.