Gluten-Free Goodness

Try this tasty quinoa and 
spring vegetable salad.
By Jess O’Toole

The nutty flavor, fluffy texture and delicate crunch of quinoa make this protein rich seed a natural choice for salads. Quinoa is a widely available and has the benefit of being gluten free. Look for it in the grain section of the supermarket or feel free to use brown rice or pasta instead. Sweet spring vegetables pair beautifully with a zippy lemon vinaigrette and refreshing mint. Roasted chicken or steamed fish would be excellent served with this spring salad.

Serves 6

  1. Rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve removes its bitter tasting outer coating. Add the rinsed quinoa to a medium pot and cover with 1 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender yet still have a pleasant bite. Remove the pot from the heat and let the cooked quinoa steam in the pot with the lid on for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a plate to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Blanch the vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to boil and fill a medium bowl with water and ice. Cut off the woody part of the asparagus stem and discard it. Use a vegetable peeler to strip off the outer skin. Chop into bite sized pieces. Drop the asparagus into the pot of simmering water with a couple pinches salt. Maintain the simmer. After one minute, add the peas. Continue boiling the vegetables for 2 minutes, until bright green and crisp. Drain and toss into the bowl of ice water.
  3. Make the lemon vinaigrette. Grate the zest of 1 lemon into a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  4. Drain the vegetables and pat dry with a towel. Toss the asparagus and peas with the quinoa, scallions and mint. Drizzle over lemon vinaigrette and toss to combine. Set the salad aside for about 15 minutes to let the flavors marinate, however, after several hours in the fridge the lemon vinaigrette will react with the green vegetables, ruining their color. If you’re making this salad in advance just keep the lemon vinaigrette separate and add it before serving.


1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 pound asparagus
1 ½ cups peas, fresh or frozen
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories 312
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 200 mg
Total Carbohydrates 27 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 8 g


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