Okay, so I wanted to just quickly post the salad we had tonight for dinner before I forget. I had a version of this at my friend Erin’s  house this weekend. This is the same friend who used my facebook account this week to announce to everyone she is my favorite person in the whole world, and that I am in a relationship. It reminds me of this girl I met at a party once who kept receiving phone calls throughout the evening because her friend had pranked her by posting her number on Craigslist saying she was giving away free goats.

Anyway, Erin made a killer salad, which I decided I needed to repeat and show you here.

I cooked the quinoa by following the instructions in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book . I had heard a bunch of bad reviews of the book, but I decided to dig deeper since I loved her first cookbook so much and couldn’t imagine her ever producing something un-fabulous. Turns out, my instincts were right. It’s a wonderful book. I’ve already tried three recipes that were amazing, and I plan to talk about the book more soon.

quinoa salad with zucchini and artichoke hearts

1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts (the kind with the oil and vinegar in the glass jar)
1 skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and chopped (my favorite way to cook chicken is here )
6-7 olives (whatever kind you have), sliced
2 tablespoons feta, crumbled
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Use a fine mesh sieve to rinse quinoa. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let simmer for 12-15 minutes, until most of the water is gone and the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat. Place a paper towel on top of the saucepan, and fit the lid on top of that. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then fluff with a fork.

2. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add zucchini and saute until the zucchini is browned on both sides. Add to the saucepan with the quinoa. Add in the remaining ingredients, including the marinating liquid in the artichoke hearts jar, and toss. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.