QUINOA, WATERMELON, KALE & FETA SALAD

A mainstay of the South American diet and the Incan Empire since 1200 AD, quinoa looks and cooks like a grain, but botanically speaking is a species related to swiss chard, spinach, and beets. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone! With impressive biodiversity characteristics, exceptional nutritional value, and complete protein composition, quinoa is a tiny superfood Americans are just beginning to enjoy as a healthy part of a regular diet. Mild in taste with a delightful texture, quinoa is the perfect protein punch for salads. Paired with melon and Greek sheep's milk feta, this salad's sweet and salty combination delivers a complex experience complimented even further by the tooth of the beluga lentils. Kale, lemon juice, and herbs brighten the mix. Overall, this dish is a keeper and absolutely wonderful on its own or as a side accompaniment to a simple roast chicken.

Nota bene: The quinoa and the lentils may be made a day in advance and stored in separate containers in the refrigerator. Add all other ingredients and the dressing just before serving. Add some grilled shrimp or poached chicken for a light summer lunch. 

Quinoa, Watermelon, Kale & Feta Salad

Directions

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Rinse and drain the quinoa. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and quinoa to the boiling water. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water from the pot and leave the quinoa to cool.

2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse and drain the lentils. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and the lentils to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Test for doneness. If the lentils are still hard, add 1/4 cup of water and continue boiling until they are done. Be careful not to overcook them or they will become mushy. Turn off the heat and let the lentils cool in the cooking liquid. Drain before adding to the salad.

3. Whisk the lemon juice, olive, and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper.

4. In a large bowl, add the quinoa, lentils, and the feta. Toss with your fingers until the ingredients are distributed equally. 

5. Add the onions, kale, watermelon, mint, and parsley. Toss again with your fingers until the ingredients are well distributed. 

6. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top of the salad and serve. 

Serves 6

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked

  • 1/4 cup black beluga lentils, uncooked

  • 3 ounces feta, crumbled

  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced, white & light green parts only

  • 2 cups baby kale

  • 3 cups watermelon, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

  • 2 lemons, zest & juice

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large clove garlic, grated

  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper