The real beauty of cooking in the summer is that it is almost effortless. There are so many vegetables and fruits to be enjoyed at the peak of their vibrancy, that very little cooking, prepping or fussiness is required. Don’t get me wrong, I love a braised beef recipe or slow cooked Bolognese. But I revel in the effortless masterpieces one can create with simple seasonal ingredients. It’s vibrant food at it’s best, doing all the work! There’s no need for heavy sauces or complicated salad dressings to mask the taste of “less than fresh” vegetables.
Take this summer strawberry quinoa salad for example. With summer still clinging onto every cell, the peas, strawberries and dill come from a local organic farm I recently stumbled across in this neck of the woods (the boreal to be exact). They had a bounty of fruits and vegetables for me to pick from, I literally could NOT take a selection of everything home. Since strawberries were just coming off their second field and the peas looks ready to eat on the spot they were my first choice and in essence the inspiration for this effortless salad.
The only work required was the slow relaxing process of shucking the peas, listening to them ping off the bottom of the steal bowl while the quinoa was cooking. With the sun on my face and a bag of peas on my lap, I made my way through a pound of freshly picked pods in a matter of a few minutes. In hindsight, I wish I had dragged the experience out longer. I can honestly say it was one of my favorite parts of the day.
To keep things effortless, this salad was enjoyed this with a small charcuterie platter, but it would be equally delicious alongside grilled fish or chicken.
Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Peas and Dill
Salad for 2
- ½ cup dry quinoa
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 1 cup strawberries cut into fork sized pieces
- 2 green onions, cut on the bias
- 1 cup parsley leaves, pulled off the stem
- ¼ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions or use this technique. During the last 3 minutes of the cooking time, add the peas to the pot. Place the quinoa and the peas in a large bowl and allow it to cool for 10- 15 minutes. Add the strawberries, green onion, parsley and dill. Toss with the vinaigrette below and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a cheese plate/charcuterie platter or grilled fish or chicken.
For the dressing:
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp agave (or honey)
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ¼ tsp salt
Whisk together all the ingredients until well combined. Toss with Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Peas and Mint.
What is your favorite summer/early fall salad? Let me know in the comments below!