Some of my favourite culinary adventures have come from throwing everything I have in my fridge into one dish and seeing what happens.
This is how this recipe came into the world! I had smoked salmon (left over from a very British Columbian care package, courtesy of my mom), roasted asparagus, a leek, walnuts (left over from this pesto recipe), some sundried tomato pesto, and fresh parmesan. What could be better than tossing all of that in some freshly cooked quinoa?
The pesto and parmesan have rich and creamy flavours, so the leek and asparagus lighten things up a bit. The walnuts give every bite some crunch, and the salmon adds some smokiness to round everything out — though the dish would be delicious without the fish as well.
All in all, this was a pleasantly filling meal. It’s very flavourful and light, and livens up the quinoa really nicely. It’s also very balanced: vegetables, a whole grain, protein from both nuts and fish (which also means lots of omegas!), and a hint of dairy. Not too shabby!
Quinoa with Smoked Salmon, Vegetables, and Sundried Tomato Pesto
1 cup quinoa
3 tsp sundried tomato pesto
1/4 cup grated parmesan
4-6 asparagus spears
crumbled smoked salmon
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1. In a pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat.
2. Wash the leek and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut both halves into 1/4 inch slices. Once the oil is hot, add the leeks to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until softened.
3. If you have not pre-roasted your asparagus, wash the spears, trim the wooden ends off, and add to the pan of leeks after they have been cooking about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/4 cups of water to boil. Add the quinoa to the water and bring the heat down to low. Allow the quinoa to cook slowly, about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the desired texture is reached.
4. As the leeks and quinoa are cooking, cut the smoked salmon into small chunks, grate the fresh parmesan cheese, and make sure the walnuts are crushed into smaller pieces. If you have pre-roasted the asparagus, you can cut it into 1/2 inch pieces at this time.
5. About 5 minutes before the quinoa is ready, add the asparagus, walnuts, and salmon to the leeks and allow the ingredients to heat through.
6. Once the quinoa is cooked, drain it and return to the pot. Add the pesto and parmesan and stir until fully combined. Then, add it to the pan of vegetables and salmon and mix.
7. Serve hot with freshly cracked black pepper if desired!