To say that the mint in our garden is plentiful is an understatement. I did a little “whoopsie” last year and planted the remainder of a small amount of mint amongst my other perennials. Yes I know mint is a weed and man did it weasel its way amongst everything, but it’s also a tasty herb to have in abundance at your culinary disposal. So needless to say, my “weeding” ended up being pretty productive.
As the temperatures are rising we’ve been cooling off around here with some mint tea and sprucing up grain-based salads for a light [but filling] meal. What I like about this particular recipe is that many of the ingredients can be found in your cupboard, fridge, and/or garden and it isn’t a large time commitment [and with a bebe who isn’t fond of being put down, time with my arms free is precious on my end!].
Cucumber + Chickpea + Mint Quinoa Salad
with shallot vinaigrette
*adapted from the Bountiful cookbook
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 large shallots, finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons of honey [locally sourced if possible]
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
Pour olive oil into a medium sized saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the shallots first, allowing to simmer for about 2 minutes before introducing the garlic. Cook both until golden brown and fragrant [about 3-4 minutes].
Remove from heat and add the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt and lemon juice. Stir until well combined and then season to taste with pepper [and more salt if you wish]. Set aside for later.
- 2 cups of raw quinoa
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 can of cooked chickpeas (15 oz) (casings removed, if you are feeling thorough!)
- 1 cup of fresh mint, chopped
In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups of raw quinoa and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer over low heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 15-20 minutes [refer to packaging of your quinoa]. Make sure water is fully absorbed, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. Once the quinoa has cooled, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and stir in the cucumber, chickpeas, and fresh mint. Add shallot dressing to the quinoa, mixing well.
Mint Tea Beverage
[careful if you’re a nursing mama, this can affect some women’s supply]
*Makes about a 1/2 gallon of tea
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 8-10 cups filtered water
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add all of the mint. Set aside to steep for 10-15 minutes and allowing it to cool. Once the mixture has cooled, pour the liquid through a strainer into a large pitcher and add the remaining 4-6 cups of cold filtered water. Refrigerate for at least an hour and then serve.