3cupspacked1 package pre-washed Spring mix, (50z/142 grams)
1.5cupscooked chickpeas OR 15 0z can store-bought one
1-pintGrape tomatoesapprox. 35 small tomatoes
A handful of fresh basiltorn
For Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1.5tablespoonAgave / Maple syrupor sweetener of choice
Salt & Pepper to taste
½teaspoondried Italian herb blend
For cooking quinoa in an Instant Pot
Switch on Instant Pot on saute mode.
Add in Quinoa and toast it for a minute. This brings out the nutty flavor. (Toasting is Optional)
Throw in vegetable stock/water and a generous pinch of salt.
Press cancel on the IP.
Put on the lid with the valve turned to seal position.
Press Manual High 2 minutes.
Once the timer beeps, let the pressure come down naturally (NPR).
When the silver pin drops down, will approximately take 10-15 minutes, gently open the lid and fluff the quinoa with the fork.
Cool it to room temperature and use it in the recipe.
For assembling the salad
In a small jar or a bowl whisk together all the ingredients called for making the balsamic vinaigrette.
Keep aside until use.
Add everything called for the salad in one bowl.
Just before serving drizzle the vinaigrette and toss well until coated.
Cooking chickpea from scratch is mentioned above in the post, please scroll up.
I use pre-rinsed and dried Quinoa. If your package doesn’t mention that it is rinsed then you will have to wash it a couple of times with water and use. The same goes with spring mix and leafy greens. If it is pre-washed then use as is or else rinse, pat dry, and go ahead with the recipe.
Vegetable stock adds a lot of flavor to quinoa rather than just using water.
Cool the quinoa completely before using or the salad greens will get soggy
Consider using a salad spinner for crispier salad.
I recommend using leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula instead of plain lettuce.
Use fresh mozzarella only. Look for vegetarian mozzarella cheese without animal rennet. I get it from Whole Foods.
Toss the salad with the dressing just before eating or else it will get soggy.
If you feel fancy, maybe on a special occasion or date night plate it with spirals of olive oil and balsamic reduction.
Possible additions & substitutions
Use a salad base like a mix of lettuce & greens or cabbage
Swap fresh mozzarella with soft paneer
Use cherry or Campari tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes.
Swap chickpeas with cannellini beans.
Instead of quinoa use a grain of your choice like cooked barley or millet.
Make-Ahead of time tips!
You can cook a large batch of the quinoa and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for 3 months.
Boil chickpea in advance and refrigerate for a week or freeze for 3 months.
Always use freezer- friendly ziplock or airtight containers for storing purposes.
Chop tomatoes and mozzarella up to a day in advance and refrigerate covered.
The dressing can be made up to a week in advance and refrigerated. Oil and vinegar separation is normal. So just whisk it again a few times before adding to the salad.
Best way to store this salad
I recommend eating the salad as soon as it is tossed with the dressing.
Any leftovers can be stored for up to a day in the fridge. The greens will not be crisp but the salad will still taste great.