Monday, July 2, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Olives

This was one of those side dishes we just sort of choose of the Food Network app because we had some quinoa in the pantry.  We hoped it would be a good accompaniment to our grilled salmon but we weren't expecting it to be spectacular.  This stuff was awesome.

Grilled asparagus, tangy kalamata olives and slices of goat cheese are folded in to the quinoa and then the salad is dressed with a light red wine and mustard vinaigrette.  The goat cheese gets all melty and gooey making the quinoa nice and creamy and really very decadent.  I didn't think quinoa could be decadent, but I was wrong.

(Food Network's photo, I didn't take one...oops!)

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Olives, adapted from Bobby Flay
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Quinoa Salad
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups quinoa
1 medium bunch of asparagus, trimmed
olive oil for brushing
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
4 ounces goat cheese sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup parsley leaves

In a medium pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil and then stir in the quinoa.  Bring the pot back to a boil and then cover it and reduce the heat to low.  Allow it to simmer undisturbed for 30 minutes then remove the pot from the heat and let it sit 5 minutes more.  Once done, fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a serving bowl.

While the quinoa is cooking, preheat the grill.  Put the asparagus on and lightly brush them with olive oil and season them with the salt and pepper.  Grill on both sides for about 5 minutes total.  Remove from the grill and chop into 1/2 inch pieces.  Add them to the quinoa.

Make the vinaigrette: whisk everything but the olive oil together in a small bowl.  Slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream while whisking constantly to emulsify.

Now add the olives, goat cheese, basil and parsley to the quinoa.  Pour over about half of the viniagrette and fold everything together.  Taste it now (delicious, right?) and add more vinaigrette to your liking.  Don't oversaturate the quinoa, you can serve the leftover vinaigrette on the side to drizzle on top.

Serve and Enjoy!

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