This Is the Only Quinoa Recipe You Will Ever Need

The quinoa salad to end all quinoa salads.

Quinoa salad with roasted asparagus

Quinoa salad with roasted asparagus

If I eat something twice in the span of three days, and I do so by choice, you can pretty safely bet that whatever I ate will end up here on Be Well Philly. That’s exactly what happened this week — and, of course, what brings me to this blog post — with a quinoa salad recipe I happened upon during a desperate, pre-dinner Google search, after realizing I had no side dish to accompany my husband’s otherwise well-planned birthday dinner. Whoops. 

What I did have was a container of quinoa, a smattering of veggies, and about 15 minutes to figure something out. Google led me to this recipe at a blog called Primavera Kitchen for a simple roasted asparagus quinoa salad. I know, I know. It’s one of those “it’s so simple, why does it even need a recipe?” recipes. Like, just make some quinoa, chop some veggies and throw it into a bowl with dressing — what’s the big deal? All of this is why, truth be told, I didn’t have particularly high hopes for it, even as I proceeded with making it for the birthday dinner. So I was pleasantly surprised when not only was the dish good, it was really, really good. So good, in fact, that it actually stole the show, dinner-wise, and was the main topic of dinner table conversation that night.

“CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW GOOD THIS IS?” I bellowed at my husband with each bite. (My poor husband.)

What made it so good was the homemade vinaigrette that’s linked in the ingredients list. It’s a simple mixture of minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and whole grain Dijon mustard (which, miraculously, I also happened to have on hand). I added a splash of red wine vinegar for extra acidity and oh. my. gosh. this stuff was good. Again, not particularly mind-blowing when you look at the ingredient list, but something about how it all comes together with the warm, hearty salad components just makes the whole shebang so freaking good. So incredibly freaking good, of course, that I made it again last night, at which time I again repeatedly commented about HOW GOOD THIS STUFF IS. (My poor husband.)

As usual, I made a few tweaks to the recipe. I toasted a handful of sliced almonds and threw them on top of the salad, and also added a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach, which wilted nicely when mixed with the warm quinoa. Last night, I also promoted the salad from side dish to main dish by adding some sautéed chicken for an extra protein punch. Yup, still good.

The bonus was when I had the leftovers for lunch today and — guess what? — THIS STUFF REMAINED INSANELY GOOD. And really, what more can you ask for from a 20-minute dinner you just so happened to stumble upon to via a desperate Google search while making your husband’s birthday dinner? The answer is: nothing. You can ask for nothing more.

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