Spring Asparagus, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad with Honey-Herb Dressing

To be honest, sometimes I struggle to come up with stories to tell you all here on the blog. I make something that I really want to share with you because it’s sweet and delightful, wholesome and nourishing, or quick enough to make your everyday choices healthy and easy. But then, I spend more time than it took to create the recipe, cook, shoot, eat and clean up, trying to think of a way to introduce my latest offering on the Nourished Life table. I love reading other people’s blogs, getting to know them through posts about their every day lives, being amused or inspired by the way they handle situations.

Asparagus, Pistachio and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

When it comes to writing here though, I am unsure of what to tell you all. Do you want to hear about my everyday? Not about the meetings and spreadsheets I am sure because so many of you probably live my corporate life too (shout out to the cubicle monkeys). Should I tell you stories about the geckos that live in inappropriate places in our house, or about the possum that scratches the wall behind the bathroom every morning at 5 a.m., or that Chris and I fight more about social and gender equality issues than we do about who is going to do the dishes? (This is not to imply we are fancy intellectuals, just that we have rather passionate convictions about things and don’t always see eye to eye…)

Asparagus, Pistachio and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I want to tell you about all of it. I want to see my life as an adventure, and most of all I want to share with you all the food that punctuates these every day moments, that frames celebrations, and that nourishes our bodies while we discover what nourishes our hearts, minds, and souls.

This salad was something that grew out of an every day moment and a craving for all things fresh and spring-like. The first spears of Australian grown asparagus showed up at the markets a few weeks ago. After greedily gobbling down a few bunches just simply steamed, I wanted to highlight them in a salad where there baby sweetness could be complimented by salty feta, crunchy roasted pistachios and supported by a filling base of quinoa. And so here it is. All those things dressed in a honey, herb, and lemon dressing that sings of spring.

Asparagus, Pistachio and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spring Asparagus, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad with Honey-Herb Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Serving Notes: I highly recommend serving this with a drippy fried egg on top. One day my egg photography will be successful, but for now, just take my advice. If you are an omnivore, this would go perfectly with a grilled chicken breast or steak.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup quinoa (I used a mix of red and white, you can use whichever colour/mix is available)
  • 1 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup pistachios (without shell)
  • 2 small bunches asparagus (about 14-16 spears)
  • 75 grams Greek feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Generous pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and then place in a medium sauce pan with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Once it has reached boiling, reduce to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes without stirring then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa is cooking preheat oven to 180C. Spread pistachios across a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes or until they are just starting to lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  3. Cut woody ends from asparagus (about 5 centimeters/ 2 inches from the bottom) and then cut asparagus into thirds. Place in a bowl with about 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) of water in the bottom. Microwave on high for 90 seconds. Drain, and immediately rinse in cold water. This will stop your asparagus from becoming brown-green and lifeless. Cool to room temperature.
  4. To make dressing: place honey in a small bowl and warm in microwave for 15 seconds. Then whisk in lemon juice, olive oil, dried herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl combine cooked and cooled quinoa, asparagus, and pistachios. Pour dressing over salad. Toss lightly to combine.
  6. Top salad with crumbled feta and serve.

Tell me, dear reader, is there anything you would like to see on Thoroughly Nourished Life? Any particular posts you especially enjoy? Any recipes you would like to have a gluten free makeover, or an ingredient you would like me to feature? Let me know!

6 thoughts on “Spring Asparagus, Pistachio, and Quinoa Salad with Honey-Herb Dressing

  1. This looks fabulous, Amy! The combination of all the ingredients are perfect… I have a real weakness for lemon and feta… and add the asparagus and quinoa.. and it’s a perfect meal for me! Printing this recipe as I’m typing to add to my very long list of recipes to try! I think this one will be put toward the top.. ❤

  2. What a great way to use asparagus – it’s been on special in Harris Farm with 3 bunches for $4 and I keep buying it but then defaulting to throwing it into the oven for 5 mins with a big knob of butter and having as a side. This has inspired me though to pick up my game!

  3. I totally understand your struggle for writing posts. Sometimes I just can’t find anything interesting to write about, but I want to post because I have a great recipe I want to share! The struggle. 🙂
    But I love this post (a lot) and I love this recipe. Your photographs are beautiful as well!
    I love using quinoa; it’s one of my favorite sides to any dish.
    You might like my Thai Peanut Chicken and Veggie Fried Quinoa
    http://theblueberrybin.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/grilled-thai-peanut-chicken-and-veggie-fried-quinoa/

  4. Pingback: Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty | Thoroughly Nourished Life

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