Spring Quinoa Salad

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If you live where it is below 60 degrees right now or if when you look out your window you see snow, you may want to avert your eyes for the next few minutes.  Because, yes, I am going to talk about spring again, and I might just show a photo or two…  Sorry!  I know that it isn’t quite spring everywhere, but don’t worry, you will get there soon!  And, if you shaking your head and doubting that you will get there soon, maybe you should just move to Arizona, because (not to rub it in) we are enjoying some perfect weather here right now.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, spring is absolutely my favorite season.  Fall comes in a close second, but spring eventually takes the cake because I love seeing all the pretty flowers and tiny leaves.  

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In Arizona, when I say tiny leaves, this is what I am referring to, isn’t it cute?!

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It also helps that our wedding anniversary is in the springtime, which is kind of funny because I had always pictured myself getting married in the fall, but we didn’t want to wait that long so we decided on spring.  I’m so glad it happened that way though, because it really was the perfect spring wedding.  Now, I don’t want to lead you astray and have you picturing me getting married in a field of flowers, because we did get married in Vegas, but in my book it was still a beautiful spring wedding.

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I don’t know about you, but for some reason spring makes me feel renewed and re-energized.  Not only do I want to do a spring cleaning of the house, but I also want to do a spring cleaning of my body; start eating healthier, drink more water, and exercise a little bit more.  I’m not sure if it is because of the fact that bathing suit season is right around the corner, or if the nice weather after a cold winter (permission to roll your eyes at the fact that I am referring to Tucson winter as cold) feels so refreshing and gives me new energy.  Either way, when I was brainstorming which recipe I should post next, a spring vegetable and quinoa salad sounded like the perfect idea.  If you are one of those people looking out the window right now and seeing snow, my winter quinoa salad might be a better match for you and hopefully you can come back to this one in a few weeks!

Spring is famous for it’s fresh green vegetables and that is exactly what I am going to use in this salad.

Asparagus

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Peas

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and Watercress

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  I really enjoy roasting vegetables, but I think that this fresh, spring dish really calls for blanching them.  Blanching them will ensure that they stay nice and bright green, even after being cooked.  If you are not familiar with the process of blanching vegetables, it is really quick and easy.  All you do is boil some salty water, throw the vegetables in for 30 seconds – 1 minute and then throw them in some salty ice water.  The ice water shocks them and stops the cooking, which is what leaves them looking green and fresh.

First, I cut the asparagus into about 2 inch pieces on the diagonal and I cut the peas in half.

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Then I blanch them, easy peasy!  (sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

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Then I sautee them for just a minute with some olive oil, shallots, and garlic.

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Look how green they are!

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I used quinoa for this salad, but you could use any grain you like.

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I dressed it with a delicious and refreshing lemon vinaigrette.

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And there you have it, a light and delicious spring quinoa salad!

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Spring Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa, dried
  2. 1 bunch asparagus
  3. 1/2 lb sugar snap peas, about 3 handfuls
  4. 1/2 cup watercress leaves, lightly packed
  5. 1 small shallot
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced
  7. salt
  8. pepper
Lemon Vinaigrette
  1. 1/2 cup olive oil
  2. 3 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  3. 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa, cover 1 cup of dried quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan. Turn heat to medium and simmer quinoa for about 20 minutes until the water is evaporated and quinoa is cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Make the lemon vinaigrette, in a small bowl, or jar add olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt. Wisk until combined. You may need to re-mix just before pouring over the salad.
  3. Dice the asparagus into 2 inch pieces on a diagonal.
  4. Cut the ends off the sugar snap peas and then cup them in half, diagonally.
  5. Blanch the vegetables, fill a large bowl with ice and then add water and 1 - 2 tablespoons of salt. Fill a large pot with water and 1 - 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil
  6. Toss the asparagus and sugar snap peas into the boiling water and let sit in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Immediately pour them in a strainer, or use a straining spoon, and place them in the ice water, let cool.
  8. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Chop the shallot into a small dice and add it to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 - 3 minutes, until starting to brown.
  9. Add in minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  10. Add the blanched vegetables and mix together, slightly warming the vegetables, about 1 minute.
  11. In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, vegetable mixture, and watercress leaves.
  12. Pour lemon vinaigrette over and mix together.
  13. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. *Pour dressing over slowly and only add as much as you desire, you may not need to use it all.
She Likes Food http://www.shelikesfood.com/

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Cheeto’s favorite spring hobby: bird watching.

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Comments

    • She Likes Food says

      Thanks, Joel! I had seen blanching done a ton of times on the food network, but this is actually the first time I had ever used it myself. I really liked it because it was super easy and kept the vegetables crisp. They say that it is a good way to preserve produce so then you can just lightly heat it when you need to use it.

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