Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Have you ever seen the show Chopped? It’s my favourite cooking show. The contestants are given random ingredients and they have a certain amount of time to create a dish for a specified course. I find the dishes some of the chefs create are absolutely fascinating. They are so creative with their use of ingredients! Sometimes, I get in the mood to try out my own version of Chopped (without the time crunch or other competitors….I find cooking relaxing, and I’d like to keep it that way, thank you very much). This “mood” usually comes on when I need to get groceries and there are only a few ingredients left in my fridge. I have this thing about having a clean and empty (ish) fridge before I put new food into it, so getting rid of all the odds and sods is a necessary event every few weeks. I’ve created some of my favourite recipes when I was pressed for ingredients, and I love the challenge of creating something delicious. I am NOT creative in most other mediums, so cooking is my creative outlet.
The recipe I’ll share with you in this post is from one of those nights about 4 years ago. I’ve made it several times since then, as it turned out really well. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to make the process more streamlined, as I know many of our readers like meals that don’t take a ton of time to prepare. I recently made it to take to a BBQ and it got lots of “thumbs up”s from those who partook. So, without further ado…
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Serves 8 as a side dish
1 cup of raw quinoa, rinsed
2 cups of chicken stock (or water)
4-6 slices of bacon
20-25 asparagus stalks, ends removed, and then chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 red pepper, chopping into small pieces
1 lg. sweet potato, cubed into ¼ inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste (the feta makes the salad salty, so the salt is likely unnecessary)
½ tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 rehydrated pieces of sun-dried tomato
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ Tbsp Honey Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste (the feta is quite salty, so you don’t need much salt in this)
Combine quinoa and stock in a medium saucepan, and place saucepan on medium heat. When it begins to boil, turn to low heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Turn off and let it sit and cool.
Cook the bacon to desired crispiness.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Chop asparagus, red pepper, sweet potato, and onion and put into a bowl to toss together. (*For the asparagus: to remove ends, just hold each end of the asparagus, and bend it until it snaps. It will snap exactly where it needs to to take off the tough part that isn’t very pleasant to eat and leave the tender part)
Drizzle chopped vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle on the spices. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, tossing a few times.
Once vegetables are cooked, mix with cooked quinoa. Allow to cool (at least to room temperature)
While vegetables and quinoa are cooling, make the salad dressing. I like to use a mini food processor to make my salad dressing, but I know not everyone has one. If you do not have a food processor, you could use a blender or you can chop the sundried tomatoes into tiny pieces.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Shake vigorously to combine well.
Once the quinoa and vegetables are cool, pour dressing over the salad and crumble in the feta. Stir to combine.