I make so many different quinoa salads – especially for parties – that I nearly forgot about this great one until Passover when I went to a Seder at a friend’s house and she severed my recipe. The salad is flavorful and light; the feta gives the dish a nice salty bite and the blanched asparagus makes it taste fresh and springy. I made this quinoa salad again last week, and served it with spice-rubbed grilled chicken for a picnic in the park. Leftovers are great for lunch, though the grain will absorb some of the dressing so add a little extra olive oil or a squeeze of lemon if the leftovers seem dry.
This salad goes well with grilled meat, poultry and fish. It’s a great side dish for a cookout or BBQ since it can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature. Make this salad up to two days in advance and add additional olive oil and/or lemon juice if the the quinoa seems dry (the grains will absorb some of the dressing).
- 1 ½ C. chicken or vegetable stock (low sodium)
- 1 C. quinoa
- Juice from ½ large lemon (about 1 ½ Tbs.)
- 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch pencil thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
- 15 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 4 oz feta or goat cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. While waiting for the stock to boil, place quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under warm water for 2 minutes to wash away the natural (but bitter) outer layer of the grain. Once stock is boiling, add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer until quinoa has absorbed most of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, fluff with a fork. Cool at room temperature.
- While quinoa is cooking, steam asparagus. Fill a small pot with 1” water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Place asparagus in the boiling water or in a steamer basket fitted inside the pot. Cover with a lid and steam for 2-3 minutes, or until asparagus is fork tender but still slightly crisp. Fill a small bowl with ice and cold water and plunge asparagus into the cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the asparagus from over-cooking.
- In a medium bowl combine lemon, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add cooled quinoa, steamed asparagus and tomatoes and stir gently with a fork to keep quinoa fluffy. Add feta and continue until well combined. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.