the taste space

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on June 27, 2012

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, guys.  All of the well wishes, emails, comments and phone made it a special day. And the pie, of course, it helped. ;)

Today, though, I will be eating salad.

Intellectually, I understand the value of a great sauce or dressing. Sometimes, it is a sauce that makes a dish.  With a salad,  fresh greens are great but the avenue it will taste will depend entirely on your dressing.  It is probably no surprise that one can take classes specifically for Sauces and Marinades at George Brown College Culinary School.

While I make oodles of salads, there is only one dressing that I’ve popped into my leafy green salad repertoire. The super simple 3-2-1 dressing, where I sometimes have to remind myself which ingredient goes with the 2 and 1. (Note: Balsamic=3. Mustard=2. Maple syrup=1.)

I am trying to make life less complicated in the kitchen this year, and I am doing that partly by focusing on different dressings and sauces. This way, I can throw them on a multitude of dishes – whether as a hearty bean or grain salad, something with leafy greens, or even used in a stir-fry, etc.

The first dressing I want to highlight is this uber delicious tahini balsamic dressing that I spotted at Choosing Raw. I am loving all things tahini lately and balsamic remains one of my favourite vinegars, so I was eager to try out her dressing.

I dipped my finger into the dressing to test it out. Trust me, I licked it clean.. and another finger, just to make sure it was still so good. It passed the taste test again. I had to make sure I kept some for my salad!

The tahini provides a nutty and creamy backdrop accented by the sweet balsamic vinegar. The garlic adds a bit more complexity. The water thins it out so this isn’t heavy like oil- or mayo-based dressings.  Use it anywhere you’d enjoy a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.

Its initiation into my kitchen was with a light yet hearty quinoa and chickpea salad punctated by bursts of cherry tomatoes, cucumber and slivered kale. I usually massage my kale, but here, it countered the quinoa and beans nicely with its crunch. I added the dressing just before I ate so that it would still be quite light. I assumed the quinoa could probably absorb a heck of a lot more of the dressing, but this way it was wonderful. I also made a quinoa-less salad later in the week, subbing collards for the kale which was possibly even better.

I know I could drip the dressing onto anything but I was sufficiently content with my salads for the week. Definitely let me know how you enjoy it! I bet it would be wonderful on kale chips, too!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this week’s Summer Salad Sundays.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing
Adapted from Choosing Raw

2 cups cooked quinoa (made from 1/2 cup dry quinoa with 3/4 cup water)
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups thinly sliced kale
1/2 cucumber, chopped (~2 cups)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/8 tsp garlic granules
1.5 tsp tamari (I prefer Bragg’s here) – start with less and add to taste, when I used dark soy sauce, I found the soy sauce totally overwhelmed the sauce.

1. Mix together the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, kale, cucumber and cherry tomatoes in a medium bowl.

2. In a small cup, whisk together the tahini, balsamic vinegar, water, garlic granules and tamari until smooth.

3. When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing overtop the salad. Yum!

Serves 4-6.

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27 Responses

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  1. sprint2thetable said, on June 27, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    I am so excited to try this! Great way to get some protein in and keep it veg-based. And I love tahini in everything. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on June 27, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    I am absolutely obsessed with tahini- I drizzle it on everything lol. I bet this dressing is to die for!

  3. Chris Stergalas said, on June 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    So simple, yet looks incredible! It doesn’t get much better than summer simplicity.

  4. flavorsofthesun said, on June 27, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I love the idea of combining balsamic vinegar and and tahini. Great combination. Love this simple salad.

  5. Joanne said, on June 27, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to tahini-based dressings..LOVE EM! I really should start experimenting with dressings more also…it’ll force me to eat more salads!

  6. Cara said, on June 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    We just finished off the jar of tahini with another round of artichokes with honey-tahini sauce – safe to say we’re obsessed! The thing is we also had salad on the side and my husband commented he didn’t like my dressing. (WHAT – this is like, a first.) Shoulda made tahini dressing like this, I knew it ;)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      Tahini’ed artichokes with a tahini’ed salad. Bring on the tahini! :) I think you will really like the balsamic + tahini dressing, Cara, and can’t wait to see how you add your own twist. :)

  7. Kalyn said, on June 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Oh my, this is so perfectly aligned with my tastebuds!

  8. Kahakai Kitchen said, on July 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    I love how creamy tahini makes a salad dressing. This salad looks very satisfying–love the crunchy, chewy textures and bright colors. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. ;-)

  9. Alarmless « Newest Obsession said, on July 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    [...] lunch, I packed some quinoa and chickpea salad with balsamic tahini dressing. I made a batch of this on Sunday to eat for lunches on the go this week. I added some [...]

  10. Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said, on July 4, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Yummy, I like tahini too, but I don’t use it nearly enough in my cooking. This salad looks great!

  11. [...] Quinoa and Chickpea Salad With a Tahini Balsamic Dressing by Taste Space. For me, this salad recipe has it all. I can’t wait to try it. [...]

  12. Dawn said, on August 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    OMG I can’t believe I missed your b-day! Happy belated. :)
    I never thought to put tahini and balsamic together. LOVE both flavors so I can’t wait to try them together.

  13. Khadijah said, on August 20, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    I have to compliment this dressing creation…it is amazing! I recently moved to Saudi Arabia, where nice store-bought salad dressing are very hard to find so I decided to make my own and tried this recipe. The flavor combo is perfect. I found 1/3 cup water thinned it a bit too much so I added about 1/4 more of the rest of the ingredients and it was perfect. We’ve been using it daily on regular salad – romaine, cucumber, tomato, carrot. My husband even commented on how good it is. Thank you!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on August 20, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      Hi Khadijah, Thanks for the feedback! I love how it heightens even the most humble veggies. Plus, who needs store-bought dressings when it is so easy to make something like this? :)

  14. [...] 6. Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing [...]

  15. [...] of my goals last year was to simplify my kitchen, with a focus on sauces and dressings with fresh vegetables supported by beans and whole grains. My salad jar [...]

  16. [...] Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing [...]

  17. [...] where she shares gorgeous food that is still down-to-earth, delicious and easy. I have made many of her recipes (there are too many to count, ok plus these, too), and I have bookmarked many more to [...]

  18. […] Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with a Balsamic Tahini Dressing […]

  19. parisianskies said, on June 19, 2013 at 5:23 AM

    Excited to try this tonight – definite quinoa addiction, and ANYTHING balsamic is a hit in my book :)

  20. Melissa said, on September 8, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Just made the dressing and it is wonderful, would probably be a good tofu marinade too. Thanks for the recipe!


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