Crunchy, Warm Spring Salad

Crunchy, Warm Spring SaladLooking for the perfect salad to take to a late-spring barbeque or rooftop dinner party? This warm, bright, textured salad uses spring’s heavy hitters–asparagus, strawberries, leeks, and peas–and it ain’t half bad for your heart, either. The quinoa provides a kick of protein and a warm backup to the sweet and savory flavors that are going on in this bowl. Pairs well with crisp white wine and a group of good friends.

The Health Benefits

Asparagus is powerfully anti-inflammatory and packed with vitamin K. Strawberries are great for your cardiovascular system and one of the best antioxidant sources around. Peas contain healthy omega-3 fats (random, right?), lots of vitamin K, and fiber. And leeks pair many of the same benefits as their Allium cousins (onions and garlic) with a softer, sweeter flavor profile–they’re full of vitamin K and good for cardiovascular health, too.

The Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh peas
  • 1 cup fresh parsley

The Recipe (adapted from Oh She Glows)

Prep your ingredients: slice the leek into tiny half-moons, mince the garlic, cut the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces, dice the strawberries, shell the peas, and roughly chop the parsley.

Bring the quinoa to a boil in 1.5 cups of water, reduce heat, cover and cook until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). As the quinoa is cooking, saute the leeks in the olive oil for about 3 minutes, then add the peas and asparagus and saute just until the asparagus is tender, but no longer. Add the garlic at the very end and stir frequently for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. Season vegetables with salt and pepper.

Stir the sauteed veggies into the quinoa, and add the strawberries and parsley. Top with dressing of your choice, or use one of the recipes below.

The Dressings

If you’re a lover of all things sweet, try the lemon-maple dressing below. Otherwise, a simple balsamic vinaigrette is a natural pairing for luscious, ripe strawberries.

Lemon-Maple Dressing

Whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Add 1/2 tbsp maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir in a clove of minced garlic and season with salt and lots of black pepper.

After making the dressing of your choice, pour over the warm salad and stir gently.

photo attributeAndrzej Gdula


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