the thin chef

Quinoa Salad with Vegetables

One of the best parts of my former job as a magazine editor was working with the wonderful, talented ladies in the company’s test kitchen. All culinary school grads, these women create dishes that not only look beautiful in the magazines, but also taste as good (or sometimes even better) than they look. I worked closely with two of these gals—Loren and Chantel. We spent many long, tiring, but ultimately fun and rewarding days together, and I miss them so much. They became friends and colleagues, which I think is a difficult balance to actually attain.

The food they make is creative and always delicious. I had a really hard time at photo shoots waiting to eat the leftovers. (Sometimes I would sneak a bite, but I think they always knew.) There are many recipes of theirs I have tried, but I want to share this recipe with you, one that Chantel created, because I’ve made it many, many times, and it’s always wonderful. I often make substitutions according to what I have on hand, but the quinoa, dressing, and crumbled pecorino stays the same. There’s something magic in that combination. The recipe below includes my suggestions for substitutions I’ve made.

Chantel and Loren, I miss you girls. But you’re often in my kitchen with me when I cook your recipes, which makes me miss you just a little bit less.

Chantel’s Quinoa Salad
Serves 8 to 10

1/3 cup white quinoa (feel free to use all white, if that’s all you can find)
1/3 cup red quinoa
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and roasted, cut into 1-inch pieces (green beans work here, too)
1 cup cooked yellow split peas (I often use green when I don’t have the yellow on hand)
3/4 cup crumbled pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (walnuts and almonds also work nicely)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion (green onions are fine, too)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon roasted garlic puree (sometimes I use a small clove of very finely minced garlic)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Place quinoa and red quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Rinse under cold running water, using your fingers as a rake. Drain well. Cook quinoa, uncovered, in a saucepan of salted boiling water, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in the fine-mesh sieve.
  2. Fill the saucepan with 1 inch of water, and bring to a simmer. Set sieve with quinoa over saucepan (sieve shouldn’t touch water). Cover with a folded kitchen towel, then place a lid on top (lid does not need to fit tightly). Steam until quinoa is fluffy, and dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and remove lid. Set aside, still covered with towel, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Place cooked quinoa and red quinoa in a large bowl. Add asparagus, split peas, pecorino, pecan pieces, and red onion. Stir gently to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, roasted garlic puree, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture, and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately, or keep in fridge for up to 4 days.

*Note: If you’ve never made quinoa before, the cooking method above is my favorite way to make it, no matter how you’re planning on eating it. It ensures fluffy, separate grains. Also, quinoa (if you didn’t know) has a very high protein content, so this could really be a one-dish complete meal.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 1st, 2010 at 10:37 am and is filed under do-ahead, healthy, side dish, vegetables, vegetarian, whole grain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


2 Responses to “Quinoa Salad with Vegetables”

  1. Chantel Says:

    This salad really was fabulous, and I am so glad you enjoy it enough to make it a regular recipe! If you happen upon any substitutions that are to die for, let me know.

  2. Mardi Says:

    Thanks for the edamame comment! This quinoa dish looks delicious! I also just posted a quinoa dish but going to try yours out. Looks simple and flavorful. I’m curious what magazine you worked for. I also work at a mag as my full-time job.