There are many reasons I look forward to the arrival of spring, but most of all, I'm usually waiting for the arrival of asparagus! I can't get enough of the meaty green spears. And because their season is so short, you'll probably find me eating them at least two times a week from now until mid-June.
Asparagus is perfect simply roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, but sometimes there are days when I want something more special. Inspired by the usual combo I use to roast the vegetable, I added quinoa and chives, then topped it off with perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs and toasted walnuts. There are so many different flavors and textures going on in this bowl, but somehow it keeps a delightful balance. I could eat this every day; it's so good, plus super healthy to boot!
Asparagus and Quinoa Salad
2 large eggs
1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed well (quinoa has an outer coating that can be slightly bitter; rinsing helps remove this)
2 cups water
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch chives, chopped, about 3/4 cup total
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1. Hard boil the eggs: Prepare a bowl of ice water to transfer the eggs once they've cooked. Place the eggs into a saucepan and cover with about 1/2-inch cool water. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover for 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the eggs to the ice water.
2. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a rapid boil, then place lid on top and reduce heat to low. Lightly simmer the quinoa for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and fluff with fork. Place the quinoa in a large serving bowl to cool slightly.
3. To cook the asparagus, bring a pot of water to boil. Add in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to prevent further cooking. Add asparagus and chives to the cooked quinoa, stirring to combine.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Place the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt into a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the quinoa mixture, stirring to coat everything. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
5. Chop the hard boiled eggs into bite-size pieces. Toss the eggs with the walnuts and quinoa mixture. Serve.
To make this ahead, store the asparagus-quinoa mixture covered in the refrigerator. Add the eggs and walnuts right before serving.
Jacquelyn Scoggin became a vegetarian at the age of 16 and has since been in the kitchen whipping up meals for her family and friends. She writes and photographs her love for vegetarian food on her blog, So Good & Tasty. In 2009, she and her husband started Slide Sideways, a graphic design and handmade business. They maintain their love for the environment by using organic fabric, recycled paper, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.