Welcome, Spring! I usher you in with arms widespread. I’m always so excited when you arrive.
Isn’t Spring the best? Warm and breezy, shrouded in vibrant blues, greens, pinks and purples.
I know this is a bit of a tease if you’re in an area still buried under snow, but the blue skies and fresh blooms are coming. I grew up in New York City, so I know that an intense snow dump in March is usually the sign of brighter days on the horizon shortly.
Sometimes when I want to create the atmosphere of a different season, I use my plate as a palate. I let my food speak the language of how I want to feel and what I want my experiences to be.
The beginning of Spring is a perfect time to let food create your mood. It’s the perfect opportunity to play with texture and color, creating food that is vivid and varied. A grain based salad filled with fresh green herbs and shockingly pink watermelon radish is sure to bring a smile to your face as it leads your taste buds to tingle with delight.
I particularly like using quinoa because it is one of the most versatile grains, easily absorbing any flavor you add. It has a very unique mouth feel and light crunch. Plus, it’s filling, healthy and a complete protein (meaning it contains all the 9 essential amino acids your body needs but can’t make on its own). When I feel like a little variation in texture, I’ll combine it with other grains like millet, farro or wild rice, to keep it interesting.
I’ve been making this particular quinoa salad recipe a lot lately to rave reviews. I love it because it’s light, refreshing, simple to make and oh, so tasty. It melds the beautiful color of watermelon radish, with the fresh taste of spring peas, mint and parsley.
This quick and easy to make salad is a perfect accompaniment to a spring brunch. If you can’t find all the ingredients, it’s versatile; a great way to use what’s on hand. French or round radish, or maybe even carrots instead of watermelon radish, zucchini in place of peas, meyer lemon instead of red wine vinegar, basil in place of mint. The possibilities are truly endless. The key is to have at least one vegetable with crunch and another on the softer side.
Spring Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and well drained
2 cups water
1 medium watermelon radish, diced small
3 green onions, thinly sliced
8 or more mint leaves, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/2 cup fresh peas (or frozen if unavailable)
1 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Combine water and quinoa in a medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. When finished, add peas and allow to sit for a few minutes with the lid on.
Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Serve.
More spring-worthy recipes: Savory Red Quinoa Lunch Bowl
Also by Christine: Soy-Free Tofu? Yes, It Exists!