Last night we made this delicious meal with almost all local, seasonal produce. Spring here in in full swing and that means lots of fresh flavors- asparagus, artichokes, spinach, radishes, citrus, strawberries and peas to name a few. I picked a bunch of shelling peas from the garden and decided to add in the rest of my asparagus to them for a simple side to highlight their sweet flavor. With the quinoa, peas, nuts, and tofu feta this dinner is already pretty protein rich, but adding a bean like cannellini or chickpea to the grain salad would make it even more filling. If you think you’ll have leftovers, I recommend tossing the greens in each persons individual bowl, as the lettuce will get soggy in the fridge. We only had a bit left of each dish and this morning I boiled some sliced potatoes and tossed the bot of quinoa salad and the bit of aspragus/peas together with the potatoes and a bit of olive oil for Carmelas school lunch. It worked great and made use of the leftovers easily.
I cooked this and documented all the steps on Instagram stories, and I saved it to my highlights so you can refer back to it if you want to see more details.
Meals like this that highlight the season are my favorite type! Plenty of flavors, colors, and textures, and packed with all different veg. If you make it I’d love to see! Tag me @mamaeatsplants so I can see your creation and variations! Lots of love and happy spring xx
citrus quinoa salad with mint
1/2 cup any nuts, I used a mix of hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and walnuts
1 cup quinoa, I used red but you can use any type or sub another grain
1 large lemon, zested and then juiced
salt to taste, I used about 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to start
fresh cracked pepper to taste, I used about 1 teaspoon roughy cracked
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon sweetener, optional- agave, honey, sugar, whatever you like is fine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-large fennel bulb
1 large radish
1 cara cara orange
few handfuls of greens, I used a mix of spinach and baby lettuce leaves from my garden, but any smaller tender greens/leaves would be good.
1 large handful mint leaves, roughly torn
pickled radish, optional- pickled anything like onion or beet would be good here too
tofu feta, optional
preheat the oven: set it to 400 and spread out nuts on a baking sheet.
cook the quinoa: bring a pot of salted water to a boil (like you would for pasta), when it boils add the quinoa, stir, and set a timer for 9 minutes. Check for done-ness and then drain through a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cool water and let sit in the sink to drain further.
make the pickled radishes: thinly slice a whole bunch of radishes, reserving 1 radish to use raw for crunch for the salad. Place sliced radishes in a jar. In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of water.
toast the nuts: when your oven is up to heat, put in the nuts. Toast till fragrant, about 8 minutes for me, but check often as all ovens are different and nuts burn easily. Once cool, give them a quick rough chop.
build the dressing: in the bottom of a large bowl, add the lemon juice and zest, salt, shallot, and sweetener, if using. Whisk to combine and then stream in the olive oil while whisking.
add in the components and combine: add the cooked, drained quinoa to the bowl, then thinly slice in the fennel and radish on a mandolin. Cut the grapefruit and orange into suprêmes and add to the bowl (reserve a few of the suprêmes for topping if you want it to look pretty/pop since the quinoa covers everything). Toss the greens in gently, ensuring everything is coated.
toppings: Add the mint leaves and sprinkle the chopped nuts on. Arrange any reserved citrus on top, and add some of the pickled radishes, if using. Add the tofu feta, too, if using. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky salt like Maldon and serve! We had it with this simple pea and asparagus dish lightly flavored with thyme and lemon:
simple peas and asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
2 cups peas (I used fresh but frozen would work too)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
a few sprigs of thyme, I used lemon thyme but regular would be good too, woody stems removed
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon to finish (optional)
In a pan with a lid, add all the ingredients except for the lemon. Put the lid on and turn up the heat to medium high. Let cook for about 5 minutes, remove the lid and check for done-ness. Continue to cook, if needed, until it’s to your liking, adding a splash more water as needed. Finish with a final sprinkle of salt and squeeze of lemon.