It’s getting to be that wonderful time of year again. The sun is up longer and the temperatures are rising. Shorts and flip flops are coming out of hibernation, and in my case, so are my shockingly white legs. The prospect of unwinding after work on a patio, lying on the grass in a park, or going for a walk along the beach is just oh soooo lovely, and I’m looking forward to a summer full of all these things.
Along with the warmer days comes my cravings for cool and refreshing recipes – salads, smoothies, salsas and dips, fresh fruit, frozen treats, and anything else that makes me feel hydrated, satiated and energized. This week’s recipe is a recent creation that checks all three of those boxes, and it’s very much aligned with my ‘let’s-cook-as-little-as-possible’ warm weather mindset.
With daytime hours being pretty maxed out during the week, I’ve been getting back in the habit of prepping both lunches and some of my dinners on the weekends. A lot of the meals you’ll find here on the blog are suitable for big batches, and this is always something I’ve got in mind when making new creations. Sometimes I’m in the mood to take photos of a recipe for 45 mins before I eat it, but truthfully, most of the time, I like my meals to be as easy and quick to prepare as possible!
In my conversations with many of you via email, I know that your time is limited too. When life gets busy, nutrition is often the first thing to go. I see make-ahead meals as being a handy solve for that problem, and lucky for you, the Spring Pea Quinoa Salad I’m serving up today is one you can make (and double or triple if you want to) in less than 25 minutes.
Here’s the thing to know about making this recipe taste delicious all week long: The quinoa will absorb the flavour of the lemony vinaigrette dressing over time, and by day 2 or 3, it’ll be tasting absolutely divine. However, if you mix in the arugula (or whatever spring greens you prefer) when prepping the other ingredients ahead of time, they’ll change in taste too – but not in the same magical way as quinoa. Unfortunately, greens do not get better with age so it’s best to mix these guys in when you’re ready to serve each portion. Soggy, wilty arugula = no bueno.
This salad gets its protein content from the edamame and quinoa (yep, there’s protein in quinoa!) but if you’re wanting to add a bit more, there are plenty of options. Grilled tofu or chicken marinated in the same lemon vinaigrette is delicious, or try adding some chickpeas or white beans. Or, staying on the no-cook theme, canned tuna or sockeye salmon also pairs really nicely with this dressing.
Spring Pea Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
- 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
- 10 thin asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced into 1″ pieces
- 1 English cucumber, sliced into ribbons with a veggie peeler
- 1/2 cup shelled defrosted edamame
- 1/3 cup shelled green peas
- 2 tbsp each fresh mint and parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 4 cups arugula
- pea shoots to garnish (optional)
- 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Cook the quinoa in 1 1/4 cups of water on the stove according to package directions. This should take about 12 minutes, and when done, the grains should be puffy and most of the water should be absorbed.
Meanwhile, make the dressing in a blender or food processor by adding all ingredients and pureeing until completely smooth. Transfer to a small jar with a lid.
Prepare the asparagus and cucumber as directed above and toss them together in a large bowl with the edamame, peas and herbs.
When the quinoa is ready, drain off any excess liquid and let it cool for a few minutes before adding it to the bowl of veggies.
Toss in the diced avocado and drizzle about half of the dressing over top. Stir gently to coat the salad with dressing.
When ready to eat, mix in the arugula and distribute between plates. Top with pea shoots if desired and serve with remaining dressing on the side.
Now over to you! Let’s hear…
- What quick and easy dinners are you making this week?
- What have you been craving lately?