Good Heavens…it’s trying to be spring. Yes, it’s still only in the 30’s. And the valley is socked in with a grey, dismal, and drizzly fog. But when I woke up this morning there was sunshine, and outside of my window little wisps of cloud were hurrying past…they were so delicate. Outside, from my sunny front deck, I was overlooking the dismal cloud that hung over the valley.
And while I was drinking coffee, an entire flock of robins showed up in my garden, frantically hopping around and pecking whatever it is that robins peck at. Oddly enough, under the snow there are green things growing in my garden. I will soon explore them.
This recipe, originally from Cooking Light, always seems like Spring, it is bright and cheery, and a pleasant, if somewhat unusual, mix of flavors. It has asparagus always a spring favorite. Since you have to chill the asparagus, you can make it the day before.
Combining that with oranges, dates and pine nuts at first seemed questionable.
But the results were great. I brought it to a potluck, because it is the sort of dish that most people can eat. You can also serve it as a side dish.
Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Dates, and Orange
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh orange sections (about 1 large orange)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 Tablespoons minced red onion
5 dates,pitted and chopped
1/2 pound (2-inch) slices asparagus, steamed and chilled
1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
To prepare salad, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add uncooked quinoa to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Transfer quinoa mixture to a large bowl. Add orange and next 5 ingredients (through jalapeño); toss gently to combine.
To prepare dressing, combine juice and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with chopped mint. Serve at room temperature. Makes 8 servings at 6.3 grams of fat/serving.