How to make vegetarian asparagus and quinoa

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Rich in protein, quinoa is a great base for vegetarian sides or cold salads. In the recipe below, it's combined with cherry tomatoes and just-blanched asparagus for a rich, hearty salad that's even better the next day. Feta cheese adds a touch of tang to kick it up a notch.
The shallot-balsamic dressing for this salad adds tons of essential flavor, and it's great on other salads too. Make a big batch of it in the blender, and keep it in the fridge in a glass jar to drizzle over lettuce or charcuterie. It even makes a fantastic marinade for tofu.
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Cooktop Cove
Asparagus and Quinoa Salad
4
20 minutes
20 minutes
40 minutes
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound asparagus, woody stems broken off, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup baby arugula
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Place the shallot, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in the blender. Blend until very smooth.
Drain the quinoa and rinse under cold running water to cool. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of dressing, adding more until it is dressed to your liking. Chill the quinoa.
Steam or blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes, just until it turns bright green. Shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Toss the asparagus, cherry tomatoes, feta, and arugula with the quinoa.
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