Quinoa, Roasted Broccoli and Arugula Salad with Feta
I first made this recipe when I was staying with my sister and brother in Seattle for a week over Christmas break. I think it was automatically assumed by all of us that throughout my stay, I would be the dinner-maker (cook seems to weird too write out). Sounds fun, but keep in mind that this was at a time when their fridge held little more than a half eaten three layer carrot cake, some kalamata olives and a half a pound of bacon. Their pantry, to their credit, did have a few all-natural, healthy staples (thank my sister for that–lovely near hippie that she is) such as quinoa, whole wheat flour, barley, wheat germ and the likes.
Anyway, this meant that besides a batch of pasta alla amatricana we made one night, we mainly subsisted off of the 6 loaves of bread I made over the course of that week–my brother ate almost a loaf a day, I swear–as well as this humble little salad. When I made it, I think we were all expecting something healthy and nourishing, but I don’t think we expected it to taste as good as it did. We really liked it.
Please don’t let the fact that we might have been a little starved for some variety of flavor lead you to believe that our taste buds’ opinion on this salad was invalid though! Because really, just imagine the flavors here: sweet, roasted broccoli and nutty quiona are tossed with arugula when warm, enough to soften the leaves a little bit. The mustard dressing and tangy feta cut through the arugula to tame that “bite” that people always say it has. The red pepper flakes add that background of heat, always welcome with roasted vegetables, and especially in this case. So yes, jaded taste buds or not, this salad is pretty spot-on.
And besides, I can assure you that back in the routine of school in Oregon, this salad tastes as good as ever. The only thing missing is the context–aka, Lindsey, I miss eating this salad for dinner in your room before going out only to stand at the bus stop in the rain for a half hour doing our Dancing in the Dark side-step snap. By the way, reader, please tell me you think Bruce Springsteen is wildly attractive too?
Quinoa, Roast Broccoli and Arugula Salad with Feta
Adapted from The Kitchen Sink Recipes
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
The one drawback to this salad is I don’t think it would fare well with substitutions. I can see maybe replacing the feta with goat cheese, but besides that, each part is essential to create that overall flavor that makes this salad so good.
1 cup quinoa
1 head broccoli
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 475. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Heat quinoa, 2 cups of water and a big pinch of salt in a pot with the lid on over high heat until the mixture reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Remove from heat and with the cover still on, set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces. Trim the woody ends off the bottom of the stalks and slice the stalks into coins. You may have to cut some of these in half–the goal is to really just make similar bite-sized pieces. Place on the prepared baking sheet and toss the broccoli pieces in about a tablespoon of oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is browned in spots.
While the quinoa and broccoli are cooking, whisk together the grainy mustard and the juice of one lemon in a big bowl. Whisk in about a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Once the dressing is combined, add the arugula and toss to coat the leaves. Once the quinoa and broccoli finish cooking, add them to the arugula and toss to wilt the arugula and coat all parts of the salad with dressing. Sprinkle with the feta and serve.