The most welcomed of seasons needs no introduction from me.
Yes! It is finally time to start being able to purchase produce and have it taste like nature intended. The flavors of spring are so amazing, but are unfortunately, also quick to pass. So, take full advantage and celebrate while they are available.
This seasonal beauty calls on spring all-stars; asparagus, spinach and lemons.
If you ask me, there’s no better way to usher in spring than with a bright green, vibrant salad, studded with lemon juice. Packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, and a whole host of essential vitamins and minerals, this plant-based miracle meal will make you feel like a god/goddess instantly.
Just looking at it is practically a cleansing experience.
So if winter left you feeling sluggish, congested or sub-par, refresh your body with spring greens. They help to lighten, cleanse, and renew our bodies and get them ready for the warm summer months. Serve this amazingly nutritious and satisfying salad warm or cold, as a side dish or main dish. I highly recommend bringing leftovers to work the next day.
It makes for one sassy little desk lunch.
Spring Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Spinach and Mint
1 bunch of asparagus, stemmed and cut into one inch pieces
4 or 5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of mint
1 1/2 cups of baby spinach or kale (packed), stemmed and chopped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/3 cup of olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup of sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or walnuts toasted
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
Bring 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Add the quinoa and bring to a boil once again. Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
While quinoa is cooking, roast the asparagus. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the asparagus thoroughly, just stack a bunch together and lop off or snap off the tough/thick bottom inch or so. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. The secret is for the oven to be very hot so the asparagus can begin to brown on the outside without overcooking and getting mushy on the inside. You want the finished asparagus to still have a bit of crunch to it. Remove baking sheet from oven and chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
Make the dressing in a small bowl by combining 2 or 3 green onions, zest of two lemons, juice of two lemons (about 1/4 cup), olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons of mint (finely minced and packed) a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Whisk until combined.
Place quinoa, remaining 2-3 green onion, spinach and 2 tbsp. of mint into a large salad bowl. Drizzle with enough dressing to coat. It is good to do this while the quinoa is still warm because it will soak up the dressing and slightly wilt the spinach. Toss well and let cool slightly. Add cooked asparagus and toss well. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
When ready to serve, mix in toasted sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts, and garnish top with additional chopped mint, green onions if desired. Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite spring salad? Leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you!