Quinoa, Asparagus and Broccoli Salad

I opened the refrigerator door and spotted a jar of the Orange Vinaigrette and two partially empty clamshell containers of yellow and red cherry tomates that I used to make yesterday’s Moroccan Garbanzo Bean Salad.  Hearing my Mother’s voice in the back of my head (telling me that I shouldn’t waste food) I decided to put together a salad that used some of the ingredients that were sitting in my refrigerator.

Looking on the other shelves I came across a bunch of asparagus that I bought a few days ago.  The asparagus, imported from Peru, ( for those who will leave nasty comments about how we should only eat locally produced food, I promise to sing the chorus of  “We are the world” and now everywhere will be considered local) were tossed in the basket because they were on sale and, at that time, I figured that I would come up with some use for them.  Also hiding in the vegetable drawer was a head of broccoli that I am certain I did not buy.  Sometimes my wife buys things at the store and forgets to mention that we now own them.  The broccoli probably falls into the catagory.  On the top shelve was a partially empty, 24 ounce container of Feta cheese that was purchased a few weeks ago at Sam’s Club.

The inventory now sitting on my kitchen counter stands at asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, Feta cheese and dressing.  Not a bad start.  Since my wife is a vegetarian and I always try to add some substance to dishes,  off to the pantry to see what would go with my selected ingredients.  I found the typical vegetarian staples: quinoa, pearl barley, couscous, TVP, kasha and three kinds of rice.  Being a lazy cook, since it only takes about 15 mintes to prepare, I picked the quinoa.  Any of the gains would have worked nicely, so if something else appeals to you then use that.

Printable recipe

Quinoa, Asparagus and Broccoli Salad

 

Ingredients

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups vegetable stock

1 pound asparagus

1 pound broccoli

½ cup Pignolias (Pine nuts)

20 cherry tomatoes

1 cup Feta cheese

¼ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Method

  1. In a small pot combine Quinoa with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer till all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.
  2. Break off the woody bottoms of the asparagus and cut into 1-2” pieces.  Cut broccoli into bite size pieces.  Steam the vegetables till just al dente.  Let cool.
  3. In a saute pan, on medium heat, toast the nuts till fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.  Don’t walk away as nuts can very quickly go from raw to burnt.  Let cool.
  4. To make dressing combine orange juice, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil in a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake till combined.
  5. On a platter arrange a bed of Quinoa.  Top with the steamed vegetables, tomatoes, Feta and nuts.  Pour the dressing over the top.
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Quinoa, Corn and Spinach Salad

Quinoa, Corn and Spinach Salad

What to do with a bag of spinach before it goes bad Part II.

If you were here for yesterday’s explanation of how I got stuck with a bag of spinach then you know what I am talking about.  If you just arrived then shame on you and you can either go back and read yesterday’s post or just play along.

After making the Quinoa Spinach Fritters I had plenty of leftover quinoa, spinach and fetta cheese so I tossed together a simple salad topped with a basic mustard vinaigrette.

Preview of tomorrow:  Friday Night Challah

Printable recipe

Quinoa, Corn and Spinach Salad

 
dadcancook.wordpress.com
 
Ingredients
1 cup Quinoa
1 lb. bag frozen corn, defrosted
1 15 oz. can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup jicama, sliced into matchsticks
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) feta cheese
1 pepper ( I used orange) diced
6 cups spinach, washed and dried
 
Mustard Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard with horseradish
salt
pepper
12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 
To make the vinaigrette
1. Combine all the ingredients in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake till well combined.
 
To assemble the salad
1.  In a pot combine 2 cups of water and the quinoa.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).  Remove from the heat and let cool.
2.  Stir together quinoa, corn, beans, jicama, feta cheese and diced pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Pour about 3/4 of the dressing on the quinoa mixture and stir to combine.
4.  Arrange the spinach on a serving platter, top with the quinoa mixture and pour the remaining dressing on the spinach and quinoa.
5.  Serve cool or at room temperature.

Quinoa Spinach Fritters

Quinoa Spinach Fritters

Fresh spinach was on sale at the market so, without any plan in mind, I tossed a bag into my cart.  Now I am sitting at home with a bag of spinach that will go bad unless I can figure out what to do with it.

I have been reading Real Cajun by Donald Link, which beautifully covers down home style Cajun cooking.  A review should be posted within a few weeks.  In the book there is a recipe for hush puppies with jalapenos and that got me thinking about hush puppies with spinach.   I went to the pantry to see if I had the ingredients to make hush puppies.  Staring me in the face was  a huge bag of quinoa that was purchased, a few weeks ago, at Costco.  Now the plan evolved into using both the quinoa and the spinach, but I still had a taste for something fried.  Back to the drawing board.  I thumbed through my recipe binders and saw recipes for things like zucchini patties, rice pancakes and vegetable fritters.  I put two and two together and came up with Quinoa Spinach Fritters. 

I still have half of a bag of spinach leftover, which created the need to make … 

Preview of tomorrow’s post:  Quinoa, Corn and Spinach Salad

Copy of Printable Recipe

 

Quinoa and Spinach Fritters
 
Yield 10 large fritters or 20 small fritters
 
Ingredients
 
1 1/2 cups Quinoa
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
6 cups of spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 cup (about 4 ounces) Feta Cheese
1 cup (about 4 ounces) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 eggs
salt and pepper
 
Method
 
1.  In a pot combine the quinoa with 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until the water is completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove to a bowl and let cool.
2.  In a large saute pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat.  Cook the garlic until it starts to brown, about 1-2 minutes.
3.  Add the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.  Remove from heat.
4.  In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked quinoa, the spinach mixture, feta, mozzarella and eggs. Stir until well combined.
5.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6.  Scoop 1/2 cup of batter for large fritters (1/4 cup for small) and, using your hands, form into 1/2″ thick patties.  Place the formed patties on wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  The mixture will be a little sticky.
7.  In a skillet pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Heat on medium to medium-high.  Place patties into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side till done.  Remove to paper towels to drain.