Recipe: Green seasoning


Are you seeking inspiration for a festive seasonal platter to serve for brunch? Look no further than this green and grainy salad, layered with fresh and simple ingredients that sing spring. Al dente asparagus spears are layered over a bed of quinoa tumbled with lemon and fresh herbs, creating a bright and healthy salad platter that is not only good for a brunch, but for lunch and dinner as well.

Quinoa absorbs copious amounts of spice, so don't hold back with your seasonings. Look to the garden or farmers market for fresh leafy herbs, and mix and match to your preference. This recipe includes a combination of dill, chives and chervil. If you don't know chervil, then it's time to meet. Chervil is a leafy green herb that resembles young parsley and frilly cilantro. It has a mild, delicate flavor with hints of licorice that evoke tarragon and parsley. It's a wonderful fresh garnish to add to salads, vegetables and fish.

Lemony Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time

Yield: Serves 6



▶ 1 1/4 cups tricolor or red quinoa

▶ 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

▶ 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

▶ 1 large garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press

▶ 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish

▶ 1 teaspoon ground cumin

▶ 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

▶ 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

▶ 1/2 cup chopped dill fronds and chervil, plus more for garnish

▶ 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

▶ 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, medium thickness

▶ Extra-virgin olive oil

▶ Kosher salt

▶ Juice of 1/2 lemon

▶ Rinse the quinoa under cold water. Place in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the quinoa grains release their white tail (germ), 12 to 14 minutes. Drain the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in olive oil, salt, garlic, the lemon zest, cumin, coriander and black pepper. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the dill, chervil and chives. (If you add the herbs while the quinoa is warm, the heat will wilt the greens.) Taste and add more seasoning to your preference.

▶ While the quinoa is cooling, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus, then neatly trim the base with a paring knife. Spread the asparagus in one layer on a rimmed baking tray. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, turning the asparagus to coat. Roast in the oven until the asparagus are bright in color and crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on their thickness. Remove and cool slightly.

▶ Spread the quinoa on a serving platter or in a large, shallow serving bowl. Arrange the asparagus over the quinoa. Lightly drizzle the salad with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Garnish with additional lemon zest and dill or chervil. Serve at room temperature.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer based in northern California. Visit TasteFood at


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