Quinoa Salad Adaptation

The power of suggestion is strong.  This morning my friend Judy enthusiastically described a Quinoa and Summer Squash salad she had prepared for dinner the night before.  She mentioned it was from the latest Bon Appétit.   Though I was barely past breakfast, and tonight’s meal the last thing on my mind, the description of the salad stuck with me the entire day.  So when dinner time did finally roll around, there was no question what I was going to make.  No longer subscribed to Bon Appétit magazine,  I did a google search and quickly found the recipe online.   It read just as straight forward and easy as Judy had suggested.   Not all of the ingredients graced my kitchen but I figured I could ad lib using the original recipe as my base.

Over the years I have subscribed on and off to Bon Appétit.  Right now, I’m in an off phase.  I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles, ogling the pictures and daydreaming of effortless entertaining but the magazines started stacking up while I waited for an opportune time to sit down and devour them.  I am a huge fan but I feel terribly guilty when there are unread magazines lying around.  And then there is the other dilemma; cooking magazines are like little cookbooks, so I have a hard time parting with them, which becomes a storage issue.  By not subscribing I can alleviate my guilt trip and  please my husband by not building little stacks around the house.   I suppose I could  subscribe online but reading magazines online currently holds no appeal for me.  Flipping the pages on the computer just isn’t the same.

The following recipe is inspired by Bon Appétit’ s Summer Squash and Red Quinoa Salad with Walnuts.

Quinoa Salad with Zucchini & Roasted Vegetables

1 cup quinoa (any color), rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon sea salt plus more for seasoning

1 medium zucchini (approximately 1/2 pound)

1/2 head of cauliflower, broken up into small florets

1 beefy stalk of broccoli, stalk chopped into 1/2″ rounds, florets intact but cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the 1 cup quinoa by bringing it and 2 cups of water* to a boil.   Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for  5 minutes before uncovering.  Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.  (I also make quinoa without covering it as it cooks.  After 15 minutes on the lowest heat, turn the heat off and then cover the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff.)  Set the quinoa aside to cool.

Cut the zucchini in half crosswise and then thinly slice the zucchini  lengthwise with a knife or a mandolin. Transfer to a small bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of salt, tossing to coat. Set aside and let the zucchini wilt for about 15 minutes.  Rinse under cold water and drain. Pat dry and set aside.

Meanwhile toss the cauliflower florets and the broccoli stalk rounds with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Lightly season with sea salt. Roast in the preheated oven until the cauliflowers starts turning golden brown.  At this point add the broccoli florets to the mix and continue roasting another five minutes.  The broccoli florets brown much faster which is why they are added towards the end.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Whisk the parmesan, lemon zest, juice and vinegar in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine half of the prepared quinoa, the zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli. Add the dressing and toss to coat.  Garnish with the roasted walnuts.

Store the remaining cooked quinoa in the refrigerator for eating later in the week in another type of salad, as a breakfast grain, or as the base for a pilaf.

*Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt if you’d like, or wait and season with salt later.