My Chef's Hat - Spring Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

I've badly neglected the "Chef's Hat" portion of this blog, where I post new recipes I've made.  My original goal was to make one new recipe per week, for the same reason as the new restuarants...I'm a creature of habit and end up rotating about 15 recipes around.  That wouldn't be so bad if I didn't cook at home 99% of the time for lunch and dinner.  And as much as I enjoy eating out, it gets expensive really fast and can easily be unhealthy.  I've done quite a few new recipes over the last several months, but just haven't posted them.  Time to change that.

About 18 months ago I tried quinoa for the first time.  Jack and Betty raved about it, and one evening when I was at their house they gave me a little dry quinoa to take home.  The first time I cooked it in water.  One bite, and I vowed never to eat it again.  It was bland, flavorless, and tasted like wallpaper paste.  A couple months later I decided to give it another shot, if for no other reason than it's very good for you.  This time I cooked it in vegetable broth...and was sold.  Both chicken and veggie broth add tons of flavor with just a couple of calories.  So I've found and made many quinoa recipes, and have enjoyed all of them.

I found a recipe on Pinterest for Spring Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.  It was full of stuff that I liked, and it sounded good, so I tried it out.

Here's the official picture

And here's my version

It was really good!  I added too much lemon so it was really tart, but that's an easy fix.  I also felt like it needed a little crunch.  I made it again last week and added asparagus, and also threw in some sundried tomatoes.  The asparagus took care of the crunch, and the tomatoes added a wonderful sweetness.  I've kind of become obsessed with sundried tomatoes lately, ,so I add them wherever I can.  It's funny because for a long time I wouldn't eat peas.  I ate them all the time as a kid, but then stopped for probably 20 years.  And just started back about 2 years ago.  I don't eat them plain, but they're a quick and easy add to a lot of dishes.

Will I make this again?  Definitely!  The second time I made it I toned down the lemon, but can still do it a little more.  And I'll definitely continue to use the asparagus and sundried tomatoes.

Recipe found on Pinch of Yum