Quinoa salad with asparagus, cherry tomatoes and pecans. An easy quinoa salad featuring sautéed asparagus, sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy pecans, salty feta and tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. Perfect for spring.
Spring is here in Los Angeles. The signs are everywhere – birds chirping up a storm early in the morning, gorgeous flowers blooming everywhere and crates of asparagus at the market. So I’m sharing this quinoa salad with asparagus, cherry tomatoes and pecans to kick off spring.
While we did not get the monstrous El Niño that was predicted, we did get enough rain to turn dry Los Angeles into a green, flowering oasis. Our usual brown, dusty canyon hills are lush with green grass. Bougainvillea and roses are bursting out all over – great splashes of gorgeous color. And I’ve never seen so many wildflowers before – whole hillsides awash in orange, yellow and purple flowers – truly a lovely sight.
I love using seasonal ingredients in salads and right now asparagus is the star at the market. This salad combines sautéed asparagus with quinoa, peppery arugula, sweet cherry tomatoes and crunchy pecans. A touch of salty feta cheese and a bit of red onion are added to the mix. The salad only needs a light, lemony vinaigrette to pull it all together.
A couple of notes:
- I used thick asparagus and it took about 5 minutes to sauté. If you are using thin asparagus you’ll need to cook the asparagus for a shorter time. You want the asparagus tender – but not overcooked.
- I like to chop up my greens so they are easier to eat – just give them a quick, rough chop before adding to the salad bowl.
- I soak my red onions in a little bit of water before adding them to the salad – this eliminates some of the raw onion flavor.
|Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes and Pecans|| |
- 1½ cups of cooked quinoa - (about ¾ cup uncooked - prepare as per the package instructions).
- 1 bunch of asparagus - about 1 pound - tough ends snapped off - sliced into bite sized pieces.
- 1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes - sliced in half
- 4 cups arugula - roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup of pecans
- 2 oz feta cheese - cubed
- 2 tbs minced red onion
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic - finely minced
- 1 half of a large lemon juiced - about 1½ tbs
- 6 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
- Pinch of salt
- Cook quinoa as per package instructions. When done, set aside to cool.
- As quinoa is cooking, sauté chopped asparagus and 1 clove of minced garlic in 1 tbs of olive oil over medium high heat for 1 minute in a large sauté pan. Turn down heat to low, cover the pan and sauté for 4 more minutes - stirring occasionally. Test your asparagus to see if it's done - it should be tender but not overcooked. When asparagus is done, set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop the arugula and add to a large bowl.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half and add to the large bowl.
- Add diced feta, minced red onion and pecans to the large bowl.
- Add cooked asparagus and quinoa to the large bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking together 3 tbs olive oil, lemon juice, 1 minced clove of garlic, black pepper and salt.
- Pour the dressing over salad and toss gently to combine.