Here in Minnesota, we’re emerging from the coldest winter in about 30 years. Temperatures are slowly warming, a lot of that hip-deep snow has melted and ducks and geese are returning to our still-frozen, but gradually thawing, pond. So understandably, we’re experiencing an epidemic of spring fever and I have not been spared!
Pastels and Easter décor are taking over the house, freshly-pedicured feet long for open toes, the liner has been removed from my trench-coat, I’m itching to hike or trail run, and I’ve got the urge to create light, bright meals full of color and crunch.
This resulting recipe is full of vibrant hued veggies, made light by slicing paper thin, combined with a burst of strawberry and fresh mint and served over substantial, yet delicate quinoa. A honey-kissed balsamic vinaigrette and shaved parmesan top off this eye-pleasing dish that makes a satisfying full meal. Enjoy! And happy spring!
Spring Quinoa Salad
1 cup uncooked traditional or red quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable stock
½ teaspoon salt (if using water)
1 small zucchini, sliced paper thin
1 small yellow squash, sliced paper thin
2 medium carrots, sliced paper thin
3-4 radishes, sliced paper thin
4 Brussels sprouts, shredded
4 medium ripe strawberries, sliced thin
A handful of pea shoots, chopped
¼ cup chopped herbs (I used mint, Italian parsley, and tarragon—heavy on the mint)
Salt, to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Good quality parmesan cheese, shaved thin (optional)
Rinse and drain quinoa. Place drained quinoa in a medium saucepan. Add water or stock, and salt (if using water). Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Using a mandolin if you have one (or your best sharp knife, if you don’t), slice zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and radishes into paper thin slices. Place in a medium bowl. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pea shoots, and chopped herbs. Toss. Sprinkle with salt and toss again.
To make vinaigrette, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, honey, salt, and pepper in a small jar and shake until combined.