The recent time change and warming temperatures seem to coincide with my cravings for fresh colorful foods. This dish combines springtime green vegetables with nutritious, fluffy quinoa and a bright herb vinaigrette. This is easy to make, holds well in the refrigerator and is a perfect make-ahead side dish for a lunch or dinner or as a luncheon entrée with chilled grilled shrimp, poached salmon or chicken. Any salad green with great textural contrast is a perfect base over which you place the tossed quinoa mixture. Happy spring!
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup quinoa
• 4 oz. sweet peas
• 10 ea. asparagus stalks, stalks lightly peeled
• 3 oz. snap peas, remove string on both sides of pods
• 1 ea. celery stalk, halved lengthwise and cut on angle
• 1/4 oz. fresh mint, destemmed
• 1/4 oz. fresh basil, destemmed
• 1/4 oz. fresh parsley, destemmed
• 6-8 ea. chives, thinly sliced
• 3 oz. lemon juice, fresh
• 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 Tbsp. honey
• 2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
• 3 oz. safflower oil
• Salt and pepper
• Mache lettuce
• Feta or goat cheese crumbles
• Avocado slices or cubes
• Heirloom cherry tomato wedges
• Fresh lemon wedge
Place quinoa in strainer and rinse with cold water stirring quinoa to fully rinse. Strain. Place quinoa in sauté pan over medium heat to dry and toast until fragrant. Stir – do not burn.
Dissolve salt in water. Add toasted quinoa to water and bring to boil. Lower to simmer and cover. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to steam with cover on for 15 minutes. Spread on lightly oiled tray to cool.
Blanch all vegetables except celery separately in hot water for 30 seconds. Remove and chill in ice bath. Remove and dry. Set aside. Slice asparagus stalks in ¼ slices. Slice tips in half lengthwise for garnish. Slice pea pods in three diagonal slices each.
Whisk together lemon juice, mustard and honey. Slowly whisk in oils, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Place cool quinoa in bowl and stir in dressing. Add vegetables except asparagus stems and garnish items and toss. Season to taste.
Place quinoa salad on plate and accent with garniture.
Manda Hudak is the savory chef instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.