Quinoa is something that I’m just now learning to love. For years I’ve told you guys that I hated it and refused to even go near it. Mostly because I kind of think it looks like some kind of creature hatching out of an egg when it’s cooked.
I’m really into it lately though. I find that the more stuff I put on it, the more I like it. So you know I loved this recipe. It’s got asparagus, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta mixed in – and three of those four are on my top 10 list of favorite foods. Plus it’s topped with a tart, lemony dressing, fresh basil, and pine nuts!
I’m kind of obsessed with this salad right now and I am officially out of leftovers so it’s a sad situation. It’s so good. I had it for lunch and dinner the past two days and could seriously keep going.
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For the salad:
- 1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups water
- 1 large bunch baby asparagus, stalks cut off and cut into ½" pieces
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese + more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts for garnish
For the dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water for at least 2 minutes; drain.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the drained quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to toast the grains and evaporate any remaining water.
- Stir in the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and cook for 15 minutes.Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.
- Steam the asparagus for 2 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Transfer the asparagus to a colander and rinse under ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
- When cool, combine the quinoa, asparagus, olives, onion and feta cheese in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and basil in a small bowl. Add sea salt and pepper.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Top with the additional crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts and serve immediately.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 539mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 16g