I belong to a community supported agriculture group, meaning that every Friday, I pick up a box of organic, fresh veggies, delivered from a local farm. This week, I opened it up, and right on top, there was a bunch of asparagus. Spring, in vegetable format. I got really excited. I love spring and sunshine and all the blooming plants.
I also love simple food that’s easy to prepare and tastes delicious. My school has spring break a little earlier than most, meaning that while most teachers and kids are just starting their break, I’m back in the classroom today. As I shared in my last food post, I am trying to get myself back onto some non-Chipotle food regimen, and this salad is definitely going to become a staple. It’s fresh, easy and manages to be both light and nourishing. I’m so into it.
This recipe is adapted from What Katie Ate, but is even simpler and easier (her version includes tomatoes, which I don’t like, a green chili which is too spicy for this baby and cheese, another no-go food for me) but trust me, is still delicious. I tweaked a few things, but am super grateful for her inspiration.
Quinoa and lentils are boiled until cooked. Asparagus is cooked, as well, but only until it turns electric green.
Meanwhile, limes are zested and mint is chopped. You should definitely buy extras for mojitos. I didn’t and I kicked myself the whole time.
The salad gets it’s flavor from lime and mint for sure, but a simple dressing adds a bite and tang. I added lots of red wine vinegar, good quality olive oil, plus some sea salt and pepper.
This salad is served cold, and I think it’d be an amazing addition to any sort of spring like activities: a picnic, a BBQ, or a simple lunch at your desk, like I’m planning to eat it today (womp womp). It sounds almost too good to be true, but it’s magical. I promise.
- 2 cups lentils
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 spears asparagus, woody ends removed, spears cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Juice and finely grated zest of 3 limes
- 1 large handful mint leaves, very roughly chopped
- Place the lentils and 5 cups cold water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, the reduce the heat an simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes until cooked (they should be slightly soft yet still al dente and nutty in texture). Drain, then run under cold water to rinse.
- Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool completely before adding the olive oil and red wine vinegar and seasoning well with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, place the quinoa and 3 cups cold water in another small saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low and cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the grains appear translucent.
- Remove from the heat, fluff up the grains with a fork and transfer to the bowl with the lentils.
- Half fill a small saucepan with water, bring to the boil and add the asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes until al dente, then drain and plunge immediately into a bowl or iced water. Drain again and add to the bowl with the lentils and quinoa.
- Add the lime juice and zest, as well as the mint.
- Taste and add more vinegar, salt and pepper as needed.
- Refrigerate before serving.