I do so love convenient eating. And frozen foods are just so convenient sometimes. Like when it’s 300 degrees outside and sweating into a pot over the stove seems only slightly less than glamorous. I’ve more or less been living out of the freezer for the past few days. Frozen pizza? Yes please. Frozen chicken fingers and fries? How did you know? Frozen meat pie? OK, maybe it’s time to re-think this strategy.
While obviously easy and not terribly unappetizing (to people like me who love crappy boxed food…. I know, it’s a problem), it doesn’t really sit as well as a home cooked meal does. I find myself feeling sluggish and heavy when I start eating like this. So with the first tiny bout of cool(er/ish) weather we’ve had this week, I decided to shake the dust from my lazy bones and get back in the kitchen. Admittedly, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t out of anything good in the freezer and didn’t want to go to the store. But hey, at least I’m honest about being a total sloth, right? I love when we agree.
Thankfully, Mr GL works right beside a grocery store, which saves my food-blogging buns so very often, so he was nice enough to bring me home some very fresh looking asparagus, radishes and goat cheese. Which I thought would be most delectable and especially healthy folded into some toasty almonds and red quinoa. And thankfully, I was right. Which only happens on occasion.
The combination of asparagus and goat cheese has always been a favourite under my roof, but with the nutty addition of the red quinoa and almonds, and the peppery sharp flavour of the radishes, it made for such a alluring combination of flavours that were as delicious as they were healthful. I hate leaving things to go to waste so I used the radish greens for a quick and beautifully vibrant vinaigrette that pulled everything together so perfectly. A home run suitable for dinner or, as I’ll be using it, for lunches for the next few days.
So if you’re slothing it out at home, eating your frozen chicken fingers, do yourself a favour and snap out of it for just an hour and you’ll have yourself a fresh, filling dish that feels damn good.
Red Quinoa Salad with Radishes and Asparagus
The salad will likely be warm when you first finish making it and it is perfectly delicious just like that, however, I sort of like it better cold the next day so be sure to save yourself a little bit for the next day!
1 cup red (or white/black) quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear
2 cups water
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper
4-5 large radishes, sliced thin
1/2 cup almonds, toasted, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup goat cheese
Preheat oven to 375.
In a pot, bring water to a boil. Pour quinoa in and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 12-14 minutes or until quinoa is soft but still has a bit of a bite to it. Pour into a mesh strainer and let cool for 20 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking, place bite-size asparagus chunks into a pan and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle a pinch of two of salt and a few crack of pepper. Roast until bright green and still slightly crunchy in the middle.
Add the radishes, roasted asparagus, quinoa and almonds to a large bowl and toss lightly until combined. Taste and season to your liking with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lemon & Radish Green Vinaigrette
handful radish greens (approx 1 cup), clean and dried
1 1/2 tsp (about half a lemon) lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic (half of a large clove)
salt to taste
Put all ingredients other than salt into food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and season to your liking with salt.
Add half of the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to combine. If it’s still slightly dry, add more until you have the desired coating.
Spoon into serving bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese.