Time for summer salads! Last year, I basically gave up on posting regular food and just posted salads. This may happen again.
To start, I’ve made a sage-infused quinoa and asparagus salad with fresh buffalo cheese. It was so nice that I made it twice!
I have to mention this great cheese that I bought, since it basically inspired the whole dish. It’s a fresh buffalo milk cheese… not quite like a buffalo mozzarella, but I can’t quite find the right words to describe how this tastes. It’s mild and fresh and smooth. Is that good enough?
I bought it from the folks at the Monforte Dairy table, at the St. Lawrence Market. I was extremely disappointed to hear that they aren’t allowed to participate in the My Market at Ryerson this year, because of the restrictive rules. I do appreciate what My Market is trying to do, but Monforte was my favourite part of the Ryerson market last year, so I’m not happy about this.
I really love quinoa. I could eat it plain, but I had to dress it up a bit for my salad! I infused some oil with garlic and sage, and tossed the quinoa and veggies with it. Believe me when I say that the flavour made its way through the whole salad! So nice!
I was excited to buy some local asparagus at the market, along with some green garlic that used in another dish. I get giddy when picking out veggies – seriously.
The Verdict: It’s a pretty simple dish, so there isn’t much to say! It’s packed with vitamins, tastes fresh and isn’t heavy. This salad goes well with any grilled summer treats! We served it with squid, and then again with lamb.
Quinoa and Asparagus Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 small bunch asparagus (about 10 stalks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10-12 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, halved
- 10-20 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium bell pepper (I used yellow, for the colour), thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 – 1 cup fresh cheese, crumbled (I used Monforte Dairy‘s Waterbuffalo Fresco, but you can also use feta, goat or any cheese that tastes like summer!)
- fresh chives, chopped
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, and turn heat down to medium-low. Cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (Note: for added flavour, you can cook quinoa in vegetable or chicken stock OR add a couple of small pieces of the parmesan rind – try to pull out the parmesan after cooking). Remove quinoa from pot, and put in the fridge to cool.
- Steam or grill asparagus, and set aside to cool.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and half of the sage, and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for another two minutes.
- Remove oil mixture from heat, and add to the quinoa, making sure to mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Chop the asparagus into 1-inch lengths and add to the quinoa. Add the bell pepper, cheese, the remaining sage and half of the chives.
- Return quinoa to the fridge to finish cooling, if necessary.
- Top with the remaining chives and serve.