I am on a mission.
When my kitchen is stocked with food, I can never think of what to make.
But when my kitchen is completely empty that’s when I come up with the best meals.
For the next couple of days, my mission is to make as much as I can from scratch using only what I have in the house.
No food shopping. No special ingredients. No take out.
So, I made a quinoa and asparagus salad.
Do you know how I feel about quinoa? I’ll put it in pretty much anything.
In the beginning of the week, I like to make a big batch in the morning and use it quick meals. It’s great to have on hand for salads and side dishes.
For the salad, I tossed some precooked quinoa with chickpeas and dried cranberries from the pantry.
From the fridge, I added carrots, cilantro, and asparagus. And then from the freezer, I used frozen ginger as a base for my curry vinaigrette.
I wasn’t sure where I was going with this, but once I started it was hard to stop!
And it was good.
My little off-the-cuff creation was a surprisingly delicious.
From my rations, I fed the 2 of us, gave some to my parents, and even had leftovers (my kids wouldn’t go near it). It’s great as a main salad or served on the side with fish or chicken. And the best part- I saved myself a couple of bucks and a trip to the grocery store!
*For this dish, you can either buy shredded carrots or julienne them yourself. I use this quick & efficient hand-held julienne peeler. It makes life so much easier!
- 1 c. tri-colored quinoa, uncooked*
- 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1'' pieces on a diagonal
- 1x 14 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
- handful of dried cranberries
- 1 diced apple (optional)
- salt & pepper
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 heaped tsp. madras curry powder
- 2 tsp. honey
- ½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- ½ clove of garlic
- ½ c. olive oil
- Make the quinoa: In a large pot, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. When it's finished, spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cool to room temperature. You can even pop it in the fridge if you're impatient!
- Make the vinaigrette: In a blender (or food processor), blitz the first 6 vinaigrette ingredients. Slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and extra curry powder is desired. Set aside.
- Make the asparagus: In a large saute pan, add a splash of olive oil and warm over moderate heat. Add the chopped asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and saute until crisp tender. The time will depend on the size. It's best to slightly under cook the asparagus as they will continue to cook once removed from the heat.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, warm asparagus, chickpeas, and julienned carrots. Add the chopped cilantro, cranberries and apples (if using). Drizzle a little ginger curry vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.
- Serve the salad at room temperature with extra vinaigrette on the side.