The ultimate in green goodness, this salad is packed with fresh herbs, hearty quinoa, and nutrient-rich veggies like asparagus and green peas. (Jump to the recipe here.)
I remember summer vacation. I remember when life used to have clear beginnings and ends. Back then, pieces didn’t just fade one into the next. They stopped. Abruptly.
As Garrett comes into the homestretch – literally, he’s working on his last paper as I type – I can’t help but think about all the things we’ve been waiting to do. Buy a house. Get a dog. Go on a hike. Take country dance lessons at the Little Red Hen.
Seriously, I’m not sure what I’m most excited about.
Maybe the graduation pub-crawl I planned? Or perhaps Garrett’s grandparents coming to visit?
There are so many things from which to choose! The summer is packed. We have trips to Oregon. There’s Watershed, Casey’s Freedom BBQ, and Garrett’s birthday. I plan to eat several dozen popsicles. I plan to go on a few more “urban hikes.” There will be twirling with my nieces and nephew, pedicures with my sister, and kickboxing.
But right now, I need to hurry up and photograph this salad so Garrett can eat. He’s still sitting in front of his computer – on a Friday night no less – typing away.
I changed things up a little here by swapping walnuts for the recommended almonds, increasing the bacon (because bacon), and adding red onion. I also used a plain quinoa. Cooking Light recommended their Ginger-Coconut Quinoa. It looks amazing, but it’s part of a recipe series and I just didn’t have time for that. Hopefully I will soon. If you beat me to it, let me know!
Asparagus and Green Pea Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light. This salad is supposed to feed four, but around here it was more like three servings. (We’re big eaters.)
2 cups fresh asparagus, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen green peas
6 slices of bacon
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 cup quinoa, cooked as directed
1 tsp black pepper
2 TBS chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 TBS chopped fresh tarragon
2 TBS fresh thyme leaves
5 ounces baby spinach
¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped
Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Season with salt. Add asparagus and peas. Boil 2 minutes. Drain. Plunge into a bowl of ice water. Drain.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally. Line a plate with paper towels. Transfer bacon to plate. Allow to cool and then chop into bite size pieces.
Pour 1 TBS bacon fat from pan, reserving the remaining bacon fat and bacon bits. Add vinegar, butter, and Dijon mustard to drippings in pan, stirring with a whisk until butter melts. Add quinoa and pepper to pan; cook 1 minute.
Place quinoa mixture in a medium bowl; add asparagus mixture, parsley, tarragon, thyme, and spinach, tossing to combine. Divide quinoa mixture among 4 plates; sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon, walnuts, and red onion.