Months ago, I ate a Black Quinoa salad at Surfas. It was one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten.
I catered a wedding shower this past weekend, and I decided to try to replicate the Surfas salad. For whatever reason, Whole Foods in Glendale has decided to discontinue its sale of black quinoa. I found rainbow quinoa instead; but I think black would have been better. I also think this salad would have been better if I was making it for 4 people, as opposed to 30. I prepped the asparagus and the leeks the day before, and I wish time had allowed me to cook them the day of. Nonetheless, it was good…
Quinoa and Spinach Salad with Roasted Asparagus
*Inspired by the salad at Surfas’ cafe
2-3 cups cooked quinoa (ideally black)
6-8 cups of fresh baby spinach (or however much you like)
2 bunches of asparagus, roasted
2 medium leeks, roasted
1-2 oranges, supremed
Pistachios, shelled and toasted (however much you like)
First, I cook the quinoa. This can be done the day before. Use 2 cups of liquid (water or stock), to 1 cup quinoa. Bring the quinoa and liquid to a boil. Turn the flame to low, cover the pot, and let the quinoa simmer for 20 minutes.
Next, I roast the leeks and asparagus. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Clean the leeks and asparagus. I slice the leeks into about 1/2 inch rings. I lay out the leeks and asparagus on separate cooking sheets. Drizzle both with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the leeks for about 10-15 minutes, until browned and softened. Roast the aspragus for 20-25 minutes. Halfway through you can stir them about, so that they don’t get too browned on one side. The tops of the asparagus should be brown and slightly crispy. The stalks of the asparagus should be browned and softened.
Supreme the orange. Here is a good video on how to do that.
Once everything is prepped, assemble the salad. Add the cooked and cooled quinoa, the cooked and cooled roasted veggies, the fresh spinach, top with oranges and pistachios. Dress the salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper).
You can play around with this; use a different dressing, or different vegetables. I really love this combination of flavors. The acid of the dressing and the orange go well with the nuttiness of the quinoa, and the roasted vegetable flavor.