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.
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups water
- 1 large bunch baby asparagus stalks cut off and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 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
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 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.