Thursday, June 9, 2011

Asparagus and Spring Onion Quinoa

"Eat more quinoa!" (and kale) has been my mantra for the last two years and roughly 9 months ago, farro was added to my list of staples. And I will tell you, having a CSA box makes it even easier to create simple, yet deliciously tasty whole grain, protein-packed dishes filled with seasonal veggies! Take this salad for example: thick-stalked asparagus boiled until crisp tender and macerated spring onions are gently tossed with light, fluffy quinoa dressed in a white wine vinegrette. Fabulous, I tell you! It is incredibly easy to prepare and is a healthy yet satisfying lunch option or a simple weeknight meal.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting a series of delightfully tasty whole grain recipes like this showcasing different seasonal vegetables. I would love to hear your thoughts on the recipes, especially if you try any of them. For all of you vegetarians out there, I beg you to take note of these salads. You will love them and you won't believe that they are actually healthy and filling. I found myself eating far less pasta and rice once I started eating more quinoa, farro, bulgur, and whole grain polenta. If you are anything like me, I suspect that you will too.

Asparagus and spring onion quinoa
1 cup quinoa
1/2 lb thick-stalked asparagus, sliced on the diagonal into 1" pieces
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Place quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until water runs clear. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Drain off the water through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel, replace the lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk white wine vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl. Add spring onion and immerse completely. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add asparagus, cook for 3 minutes until crisp tender. Remove asparagus with a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl with ice and cold water. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine asparagus and macerated spring onions. Add cooled quinoa and toss gently to mix. Pour dressing over salad and mix to coat well. Season with salt and pepper.

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