Hearty Vegetarian: Thai Quinoa Salad with Seasonal Veggies


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Spring days bring a sense of renewal and ease that I find refreshing. I catch myself humming happily as I putter in the garden outside. There’s something primal about working the earth to prepare for the planting season. I shove my hands into the freshly tilled soil as I reconnect with nature’s rhythm, and allow myself to slow down. This ritual marks a transition. I feel like a leaf unfurling after winter’s touch and reaching for the sunlit sky; basking in glorious warmth and the promise of new growth.

My mindset carries into the kitchen. After months of slow roasting, stewing, and braising to fend off the cold I crave light, uncomplicated meals that come together quickly. The produce at my farmers market is transitioning too. My basket still brims with ravishing root vegetables and kale, but also with shoots of tender green garlic, spring onions, and slender fresh asparagus.

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This simple one-dish Thai Quinoa Salad with Seasonal Veggies is one of my favorite Asian inspired recipes. It’s a healthy, make-ahead light lunch or dinner entrée that’s brimming with flavors. Quinoa is high in protein and naturally gluten-free, so it’s a perfect base for this entrée. I also love how versatile it is. Try experimenting with your favorite veggie combination, or even add chicken or beef for a non-vegan version if you like. This dish keeps beautifully in the refrigerator for several days, making it a quick meal option when you don’t feel like cooking or just want to spend more time in the garden.

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FARMINISTA’S THAI QUINOA SALAD WITH SEASONAL VEGGIES (serves 4)

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, steamed crisp tender and roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks asparagus, steamed crisp tender & sliced
  • 2 green garlic bulbs (white end), sliced (or 2 large garlic cloves)
  • 2-3 spring onions, diced (may substitute red onion)
  • 1/2 cup small carrots, sliced (multi-color if you can find them)
  • 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, julienne cut
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Thai Dressing:

  • 1 lime, juiced & zested
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fresh ginger; 1 inch piece peeled & grated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook quinoa as directed on the package. In the last 2 minute of cooking, add the kale and stir to wilt. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Steam the broccoli and asparagus; slice according to directions and set aside.
  3. Heat a sauté pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté sliced green garlic (or 2 cloves garlic) and spring onion for 2-3 minutes or until softened.
  4. In a large bowl, gently toss the cooked quinoa & kale with all the veggies, cilantro, and peanuts.
  5. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth.
  6. Pour dressing over the quinoa mixture and mix until combined.
  7. Plate and sprinkle with more peanuts if desired.

This dish may be served warm or cold. *Add sliced chicken or beef if desired.

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Categories: Entrees, Gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Salads, Seasonal Recipes, Vegetarian/Vegan RecipesTags: , , , , , , , ,

6 comments

  1. This looks wonderful Karen. I’ve been trying to make friends with quinoa, and maybe this will be the recipe. I’ve been thinking that I’d like a protein rich salad to keep in my frig on days that I don’t want to take the time to cook. Thanks and beautiful as always! Cheers!

    • Oh quinoa is a favorite of mine Heidi! It’s actually a seed rather than a grain, so it’s higher in protein. The secret is to thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a colander for at least a minute prior to cooking. This will remove the seed’s protective outer coating that can lend a bitter taste if not washed off. I love quinoa in salads, as a side dish, and even as a warm breakfast porridge with nuts and fruit! Enjoy 😉

  2. A veggie feast bursting with color and flavor… can’t wait to make and eat it!

  3. Don’t you just love spring with flowers blooming and so many wonderful fruits and vegetables available. Your salad says spring for sure. I don’t cook much with quinoa, but this recipe inspires me to try it in your salad.

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