Dinner Tonight: Mindy Fox's Red Quinoa, Raw Asparagus and Endive Salad


[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

When asparagus is truly in season, like at this exact moment, the vegetable is so sweet and tender it doesn't even need to be cooked. Just thinly slice the stalks, dress them with a vinaigrette, and you're left with a stunningly simple fresh asparagus salad. The only catch is that these salads are often light, bordering on insubstantial. That might make a fine first course, but what if you only want to make one dish for dinner?

This recipe from Mindy Fox's Salads: Beyond the Bowl solves that problem by adding quinoa, pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan, all of which help to bulk out this salad into a wonderfully filling meal.

Why I Picked This Recipe: Because so many of the recipes looked great, it was hard to figure out where to even begin with this cookbook. But considering it is spring and all, it seemed like I should go for the asparagus recipe.

What Worked: The red quinoa cooked up in just 15 minutes, and combined beautifully with the rest of the ingredients. Though I worried it would simply dilute the flavor of the crunchy vegetables, the quinoa actually added an earthiness to each bite, which worked as an effective counterpoint to the crisp and sweet fresh vegetables.

Suggested Tweaks: I just used my standard extra-virgin olive oil for this, but I can see how a really nice olive oil would have worked even better. Also, I wouldn't be against adding just a little more lemon juice.