I like to think that my embracing Spring in recipe form is inspired by all of the healthy green vegetables now available, which I am sure it is – at least in part. But really I suspect it is more of a plea through food to the sun god, inspired by how tired I am of the grey days of winter in the Pacific northwest. Anything I can do to usher in the sunshine and bring in true Spring Showers rather than a continuously grey-washed city I am all for.
So with this sentiment, I made a fresh and easy Spring quinoa recipe, speckled with peas and asparagus and flavoured with fresh basil. Peas, asparagus and basil aren’t in season locally quite yet, but we are close. Last week, in protest of it all, I braved the drizzle and planted peas, chard, and spinach in my garden. I truly can’t wait until I can harvest from my own lawn, but until then I will use whatever I can get my hands on to enjoy the fresh produce of spring. Try serving this green vegetable quinoa with some grilled fish or roasted chicken.
Spring Vegetable Quinoa(serves 4-6)
Trim the end of the leek, and separate off the green part, use for something else or discard. Chop the white into thin rounds and wash well. Wash the asparagus, trim off the woody ends and discard. Chop into small 1/2" pieces. Mince the garlic.
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Heat a medium skillet to medium low heat and add the olive oil, leek and a pinch of salt. Sweat the leek until it has softened. Add the garlic and sweat for another 3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside until quinoa is cooked.
Once the water has boiled add a big pinch of salt. Put the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well under water. We will cook the asparagus in the same water as the quinoa but the timing is important so as not to overcook. If your asparagus is really delicate, set a timer for 8 minutes, if not set it for 6. Add the quinoa to the boiling water and set a timer for 6 minutes. (We will cook the quinoa for 10 minutes total, and the asparagus for 2-4) Once the timer has gone off add the asparagus to the water, continue cooking until the asparagus and quinoa is cooked (about 10 minutes total for the quinoa). Strain.
Toss the quinoa in a warm pan with the leek mixture and peas. Roughly chop the basil and stir into the quinoa along with the juice of half a lemon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper.