Summer Quinoa Salad

While it’s a simple crowd-pleasing (vegetarian, gluten-free) dish for dinner al fresco with friends, the fact that both the quinoa and kale can hold up dressed for a few days make it a lovely dish to keep on hand for quick meals.
By / Photography By Hugh Forte | June 28, 2015

About this recipe

In the summer, I try not to spend as much time in the kitchen prepping, and lean toward meals that are quick and light. The simplicity beckons you to use fresh summer corn and tomatoes. While it’s a simple crowd-pleasing (vegetarian, gluten-free) dish for dinner al fresco with friends, the fact that both the quinoa and kale can hold up dressed for a few days make it a lovely dish to keep on hand for quick meals.

I use a 1 to 1.5 ratio of quinoa to water here because I like it on the al dente side for salads. This leaves you with individual grains as opposed to mush. If you find yours in need of a bit more liquid, just add a couple more tablespoons. I bake the tomatoes to hover somewhere between oven dried and fresh. I like the bits of juice and also the concentrated sweetness that the oven imparts to these summer gems. Leave them raw if you’re in a hurry, but they make the salad special if you have the time.

Reprinted with permission from The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Preparation

  1. Rinse and drain the quinoa. Put it in a pot with the water. Bring it to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff it with a fork, turn of the heat, set the cover ajar, and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325ºF. Halve the tomatoes and spread them on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss everything to coat. Spread the tomatoes in an even layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until slightly dried at the edges. Remove to cool.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and sauté, only stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes to just char the outside. Set aside to cool. Both of these steps may be done 1 day in advance.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, kale, and cilantro. When the tomatoes and corn are completely cool, add them along with the pine nuts and cheese to the bowl.
  5. For the dressing, in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, pulse or smash the garlic cloves. Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, buttermilk, and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything to combine.
  6. Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing. This salad will keep, covered, in the fridge for 3 days.

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Ingredients

For the Salad
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (or 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa)
  • 3/4 cup of water or broth
  • 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup corn kernels, from 2 small ears of corn
  • 2 1/2 cups stemmed, finely chopped kale
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata or feta cheese
For the Dressing
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
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