Roasted Asparagus and Spinach Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 pound fresh asparagus spears, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole lemon, juiced and zested
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
3 shallots, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sherry

For the lemon vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use remaining 1/2 lemon from above)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves or other baby lettuce mix

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Rinse quinoa in a small mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa with 2 cups of water. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa is simmering, toss the asparagus spears in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange the spears on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Squeeze half of the lemon over them, soaking the ends as much as possible with the juice. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Place the halved shallots, cut side up, in a small ramekin. Dot the butter over the top. Pour the sherry over the shallots and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place in the oven alongside the asparagus. Bake the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes until the asparagus ends start to brown lightly. Leave the ramekin with the shallots in another 10 minutes or so until the cut ends start to brown.

Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in while continuously whisking until all of the oil is incorporated.

When the quinoa and shallots are finished cooking, break up the shallots using a spoon so the sections come apart and pour the shallots and the butter sauce they were baked in into the quinoa. Add the lemon vinaigrette and stir until quinoa is coated.

In a serving dish layer the spinach leaves, dressed quinoa, and the asparagus. Garnish the entire dish with lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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