The ingredients in this hearty grain salad celebrate the start of summer and the opening of farmers markets across the country. This quinoa salad is packed with a power combo of kale, sugar snap peas, and radishes and is tossed with a bright lemony vinaigrette.
The secret that takes this salad from good to great is adding finely grated lemon zest to the vinaigrette. The zest brightens the other flavors and creates a beautiful flavor profile.
A microplane zester is an inexpensive tool worthy of adding to your kitchen gadget collection. Otherwise a paring knife can be used to carefully remove the zest from the pith. This will give you large pieces of zest that then need to be minced finely. Lemon zest adds exceptional flavor to everything from dressings to marinades to baked goods.
I’ll admit it. I made this salad three times this week! The first night for recipe testing, the next night for dinner at grandma’s house, and a couple nights later for a dinner party with friends. It was an acclaimed winner at every event.
Top this salad with a soft-boiled egg for a quick, nourishing meal or serve as a side with grilled steak for a no-stress dinner party.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed using a fine-mesh strainer, well drained
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large head kale, stems removed, chopped
- 1 pint (8 ounces) sugar snap peas, chopped
- 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 or 4 green onions (scallions), white and green parts sliced
- 1 block (6 ounces) feta, crumbled
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil 1 1/2 cups water and the salt. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and all the water has been absorbed, 15 minutes. If any water remains simmer uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large salad bowl, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile make the dressing by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a pint-size glass jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to combine.
Once cool, add the kale, peas, radishes, onions, feta, and dressing to the quinoa and toss to combine.
Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Elyse Kopecky is a whole foods chef currently co-authoring a cookbook for runners, Run Fast Eat Slow, with Olympic marathoner and longtime friend, Shalane Flanagan. After 10 years working for Nike and EA Sports, Elyse decided to pursue her passion for talking and writing about food. She went to NYC to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute and has taken cooking classes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Sign-up for sneak peeks of Shalane and Elyse’s book at runfasteatslow.com or follow along @ElyseKopecky.