We just came back from an amazing weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, where my husband and dad (whose 66th birthday is today!) finished the Half Ironman Triathlon. They swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles and then ran 13.1 miles! It was a HOT day, but they did it! All of their hard work is preparing them for the Lake Placid Ironman on July 24th. I’m working on a post about the experience from this weekend, so stay tuned for that post later this week 🙂
In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe for a salad I’ve made a few times already this spring, mainly because of how simple it is. It’s a dish you could bring to a potluck or enjoy for lunch or dinner.
And it includes one of the veggies that is in season here on the East Coast – asparagus!
Asparagus is one of my favorite springtime foods that is incredibly versatile and easy to make. You can steam it, bake it, saute it, or grill it. You can even use it as an ingredient in soup, but I’ve yet to try that.
I came up with this recipe after spending a beautiful afternoon with my friend, Lisa, and her two kiddos. When I got home, I took a look at what was left in the fridge and decided to put this salad together. The ingredients are simple – quinoa, onions, garlic, tomatoes, lemons, and asparagus.
This recipe embodies the wise words of Julia Child…
Think of this recipe as a template or a guide. Start with a cooked grain like quinoa or rice + onion and garlic base + 3-4 cups of veggies of your choice + vinaigrette. The other day when I made it, I threw in some arugula. Another time, I might use spinach instead or sub in some roasted red peppers for tomatoes. Use what you have 🙂
Cooking does not have to be stressful, and using templates like this can make it more fun and freeing!
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (will yield about 3 cups cooked)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 bunch asparagus, woody stem (bottom 1″) removed and the rest chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup water
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves rolled and thinly sliced
coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until almost all of the water is absorbed. DO NOT STIR QUINOA. Remove quinoa from heat and leave covered for 5 minutes to steam. Remove lid and fluff with fork. Set aside.
- Add olive oil to large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions for about 5-6 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add tomatoes and cook for 6-8 minutes. Add asparagus and 1/4 cup water. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender and still bright green. Remove from heat. Add vegetables to quinoa and toss to combine.
- Whisk lemon juice, zest, garlic, salt and pepper together. Add olive oil and continue whisking until evenly combined. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle basil on top, and toss everything to combine. Serve warm or chilled.