Quinoa Salad with Arugula

“California Pizza Kitchen” is our favorite restaurant and we visit it at least once a week to enjoy their amazing salads and pizzas. Last weekend, I tried out their new salad, quinoa with arugula, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, asparagus and a sprinkle of feta cheese and was completely blown away by the flavors that I had to recreate it at home as it looked fairly simple.

Just cook the quinoa ahead of time, and keep in the refrigerator. This salad tastes best when all the ingredients are cold. I made just a few changes by substituting the asparagus for french beans and made a white wine vinaigrette (using Ina Garten’s vinaigrette recipe). Needless to say, it’s a hot favorite at home and hubby takes it as lunch to work.

Quinoa (pronounced as Keen-wah) is a gluten free, highly nutritious seed. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor and is a great substitute for rice. Quinoa is an exceptional source of protein, dietary fiber and contains B vitamins and iron. Prepare it the way you would cook rice. A lot of my friends are now using quinoa instead of rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa- cook the quinoa like rice (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water and salt to taste)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 sun dried tomatoes, chopped – drained from oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onions
  • 7 to 10 french beans, blanched in boiling water and shocked
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, sprinkled

Vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped or minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Cook quinoa and cool. Once cooled, put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Cut the ends of the french beans and cut diagonally in 1 inch. Throw it in salted boiling water for  4 to 5  minutes, drain and put in a bowl of iced water. Keep aside.

 Cut sun dried tomatoes and onions and prepare the vinaigrette.

In a large bowl, throw in the quinoa, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, onions and french beans or asparagus. Pour the vinaigrette and mix. Sprinkle feta on top and serve cold. Enjoy!

 To make the vinaigrette:

Pour vinegar, garlic, dijon mustard , salt and pepper in a bowl. Add oil and whisk till it all emulsifies.

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