This will come as a surprise to, well, approximately no one, but wow – wedding planning sure involves a lot of work! Things are slowly starting to move along, but I feel like my approach leaves a lot to be desired in the way of logic and order. It’s analogous to the way I sometimes inadvertently end up tidying and cleaning the entire apartment, which goes something like this: I start with one small task, which inevitably directs me into a different room, where I notice something else that needs to be taken care of, so I abandon the original task (just temporarily, I tell myself) to attend to the second, but then I realize that the second requires me to do two other things first, so I do the first of those things, only to get distracted by something else I’ve been putting off for weeks, and before I know it, I’ve emptied out half of my closet, scrubbed one (but not both) of the toilets, and bagged up a mountain of stuff to donate, yet it’s past dinnertime, I haven’t a clue what to make, and somehow, my to-do list just keeps growing longer. Things always get squared away eventually (and I’m sure this will be the case with wedding planning as well), but dang if it isn’t messy and chaotic in the interim!
Luckily, on days when my focus (or lack thereof) is elsewhere and meal planning gets the short end of the stick, I can fall back on quick and easy meals like this Turkish-inspired chickpea and apricot salad! Like all of my favorite dishes, this salad combines a relatively short list of ingredients that spans a wide range of flavors (sweet, salty, smoky) and textures (crisp/crunchy/chewy).
Although not native to Turkey, the quinoa provides enough heft to make this salad an entrée in its own right, and the smoked paprika vinaigrette (which comes together in mere minutes!) adds such pizzazz that your taste buds may still be craving more even after your stomach has had its fill.
I have a feeling that I’ll be eating this chickpea and apricot salad a lot in the coming months—and not just because I keep getting drawn into wedding planning, only to emerge hours later! It’s also great for warmer months, since you don’t have to turn on a single appliance to make it. We hit a high of 88 degrees outside (and 86 inside) last week, so this salad really hit the spot! Has summery weather already arrived where you live?
For those of you who have been involved in planning a wedding, do you have any advice about how to find a photographer or what questions to ask when contacting one? I’m much more comfortable behind a camera than in front of one, so I’m a little anxious about finding a photographer who will be able to put Dr. Cake Pants and me at ease!
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 12 ounces romaine, chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots (about 16 apricots)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup crushed pita chips
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- Prepare the quinoa according to the directions on the package. This will likely call for two parts water and one part quinoa.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
- Place the romaine, chickpeas, and apricots in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Sprinkle the crushed pita chips and walnuts on top immediately before serving.
- If you know you will have leftovers, you may want to sprinkle the crushed pita chips and walnuts on top of individual portions rather than on top of the whole salad. Similarly, if you are packing this for lunch, I recommend keeping these ingredients in a separate container. They will lose their crunch if exposed to the rest of the salad and the vinaigrette for too long.
- Smoked paprika vinaigrette recipe adapted from Allrecipes.
Cake Lover says
I call the distracted method of cleaning house the “pinball method” – where I am the pinball ricocheting from one thing to another. This salad is so colorful! I have to try the dried apricot and paprika combo – it sounds tasty! Thanks for this warm weather option for dinner.
I love the “pinball method” description – that perfectly sums up what I do as well! I hope you get a chance to try this, and please let me know what you think if you do!
chef mimi says
At first I thought this was a panzanella, but now I get it. A brilliant combination of flavors and textures. One thought – my daughter got married almost 8 years ago. We have the post-wedding pics of the bride with her family, his family, with her bridesmaids, and so forth. But we hadn’t thought to mention to the photographers that we’d like some family photos from the reception – nothing formal or staged. So there’s not one photo of my daughter with her sister, or with us, and that’s sad. And this guy is a professional, and his photos were stunning. But I learned that they only do what you ask. Ask!!! Make a list! Show photos of special family members! (Only 3, in our case! And he knew us.).
I wouldn’t have thought to mention to a photographer about candids with family either, so thank you for pointing that out to me! I’m sorry that your family had to learn that the hard way. I am gradually learning the importance of leaving no stone unturned and asking lots of very specific questions!
chef mimi says
Part of it was that we were all over the place, seeing old friends, and doing what people do at receptions. My younger daughter was outside for most of the evening hanging with friends she hadn’t seen for a while, and the bride was mostly on the dance floor. I really wish I’d at least have photos of the 2 of them. We’re a teeny family!
David | Spiced says
88 outside and 86 inside? Umph! Welcome to summer, right? We had the same heat wave come through our area, but fortunately we’ve returned to more spring-like weather now. I hear ya on the cleaning method…mine often follows a similar pattern. But hey, it still gets done, right? On another note, I am seriously loving this salad! You have so many awesome flavors going on in there…and that smoky vinaigrette? What a unique one! I totally need to try this out. And maybe it will inspire me to clean my house first! 🙂
We’ve returned to more spring-like weather now as well, thank goodness! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who cleans in what was described in an earlier comment as “the pinball method.” But yes, things do always get done in the end, and that’s what matters!
Miriam Dall says
I really like mixing chickpea in my salad, and this combination of flavors sounds awesome for the warm wearther.
Me too, which is funny since I *hated* them as a kid! Thanks for stopping by!
I love that you combined apricots and chickpeas! If I were looking for a photographer for a wedding, I’d probably look online for local portfolios and also ask friends who they have used. Back in my day, it was mostly word of mouth! Best wishes as you plan and prepare!
Thanks, Julia! I’ve gotten a few recommendations from friends, which is really nice, since it can be hard to know where to start!
This salad sounds and looks lovely, perfect for warmer weather! Happy FF:)
Thanks, Monika! I hope you’re having a great weekend!
This sounds delicious 🙂 Good luck with your planning, it is definitely can be stressful!
I’m glad this caught your eye! And thank you – it has certainly been overwhelming at times, but I’m sure it’ll all be worth it in the end 🙂
This salad looks so colorful and the flavor combinations sound delicious! I especially like the sound of the paprika vinaigrette. Good luck with the wedding planning! It can be stressful, but also so much fun. 🙂
Thanks, Jenny! I hope you get a chance to try the vinaigrette, if nothing else – the smoked paprika has SUCH a great flavor. And thanks for the wedding planning well wishes 🙂
love in the kitchen says
Anything with chickpeas and I’m in and this looks like a great combination of flavours and textures.
All the best with your wedding plans!
I hope you get a chance to try this – let me know if you do! And thanks! The plans are slowly starting to take shape 🙂
I love the addition of apricot. I bet this tastes amazing! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday, Mara!
Thanks – the apricot adds such a nice pop of color, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Paula from Her Life Is Love says
This looks great, although we are only hitting highs in the 70s right now. I wish I could help with wedding photographer, but mine was all in a package and I couldn’t choose. Thanks for joining Fiesta Friday!
It’s been in the 70s here as well – so lovely! Thanks for stopping by and for hosting this week 🙂
Congratulations! Do you have your dress picked out? That was my favorite part. Anyways, your salad looks delicious, so many flavors and textures – yum!
Thanks, Lily! Yes, I picked a dress a few weeks ago 🙂 It was a strange experience overall – the dress I chose was not at all what I had expected to like most!
This is a neat idea for a salad! I’m always looking for ways to use the large bag of quinoa. I think I’ll try this tonight, though I don’t have smoked paprika. What other dressings do you think would work?
Thanks! If you don’t have smoked paprika, you could go with a simpler vinaigrette – the one from this recipe is my go-to vinaigrette when I’m in a hurry. Let me know how it turns out!
Kate - gluten free alchemist says
Loving the look of this and what an amazing combination of flavours. The apricot sounds inspired x
Thanks, Kate! I hope you get a chance to try it sometime soon 🙂
This is my kind of salad! Great ingredients and I just love the flavours in that vinaigrette. We’ve had some hot weather here too and salads are about the only thing I want to eat!
If your blog name is any indication, you will definitely love the smoked paprika vinaigrette! I was actually debating whether to buy smoked paprika, since I already had regular – I’m so glad I did, since the flavor was quite different. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you’re finding ways to keep cool!
Annie lewis says
OH, this salad has great look !! It looks delicious !! I can’t wait to make right now !!
Thanks, Annie! Please let me know what you think if you try it 🙂