While looking for a healthy side dish to serve with dinner, I came across various recipes for quinoa. Packing more protein than any other grain, quinoa is quick to make and takes on the flavors of any dish beautifully. This was the first time I made quinoa at home. Preparations remind me a bit of bulgur. With that in mind, you can replace quinoa for bulgur when making tabbouleh or any other grain salad.
This dish is especially perfect for Spring. I’m patiently waiting for the asparagus crops to be ready, at which point I will be buying a bunch a couple of times a week. You haven’t tasted asparagus until you’ve picked up tender fresh stalks right from the farm. None Such Farms in Buckingham, PA has the best in our area.
There are three steps to making this salad: preparing the dressing, making the quinoa and grilling the veggies and cheese. Then just toss it all together for a pretty side dish everyone is sure to enjoy.
Serves about 6 as a side dish
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all the ingredients. Whisk in the olive oil last to emulsify the dressing. Set aside.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE QUINOA
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Combine the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover for about 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Pour the quinoa on a plate and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SALAD
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, rough chopped
- 6-8oz Halloumi cheese, sliced 1/2″
- Half of a fresh lemon, to squeeze over grilled halloumi
- Olive oil for brushing on grilled asparagus & halloumi
Lightly brush the asparagus with olive oil and grill until crisp tender. Once cool enough to handle, cut spears into thirds. Lightly brush the halloumi slices with olive oil and grill until browned and grill marks appear, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and place on a plate. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice.
In a large serving bowl, combine the quinoa, grilled asparagus, tomatoes, olives, onions and basil. Pour the salad dressing over and toss gently to combine. Serve room temperature, with the sliced Halloumi on the side.
* This would make a nice vegetarian main course