Technically this is a springtime recipe, but I’ve been making it almost weekly since I found the recipe in one of my new cookbooks, Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells.

I’m constantly wanting to try new recipes using quinoa. It’s such a healthy thing to eat. It’s not an actual grain, but a pseudo-cereal. It’s full of protein and fiber. This is one of the perfect ways to eat it. I’ve taken this salad to potlucks and family parties. Everyone loves it. The original recipe calls for a heavier, lemon-chive dressing made with cream. I have changed it up to make it lighter for a hot summer day. Eat it alone or with grilled veggies, fish, poultry, or meats. It keeps great in the fridge for several days.

The fresh parsley is a key ingredient, but feel free to use whatever fresh herbs you have in your garden or can find at your local farmers market.  Oregano, mint, or basil are particularly good with the lemon-olive oil vinaigrette.

Cutting the spinach into thin strips makes this salad easier to eat and also makes sure you get a bit of each of the ingredients in every bite.

Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Parsley, and Spring Onions
slightly adapted from Salad as a Meal by Patricia Wells

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups pre-rinsed quinoa (if you buy in bulk and don’t know if it’s pre-rinsed, rinse the quinoa after toasting it)

3 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock

2 dried or fresh bay leaves

1 tsp. fine sea salt

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves only (2 cup loosely packed)

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 small spring onions or scallions, white parts only, trimmed, peeled, and cut inot very thin rings

5 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed, cut into chiffonade (4 cups loosely packed)

Dressing: 1 Tbsp. lemon juice + 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the quinoa and toast,  stirring regularly, until quinoa crackles and becomes aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes.  Pour the homemade stock into the pan.  Add the quinoa, bay leaves, and salt.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, strirring from time to time to prevent the quinoa from sticking to the pan.  Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or using a sharp knife, finely chop the parsley.

In a small bowl, mix together the parsley, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil.  Pour over the quinoa, add the spring onions, and toss gently to coat.  Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

At serving time, toss the spinach chiffonade with the remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil.  Add to the quinoa and gently toss to combine.

Serve.