Spring Quinoa Salad

When spring produce starts flowing into our markets, I get really excited about making salads. There are so many veggies to play with, the options are endless. This salad is a combination of some of my favorite, really colorful market vegetables, paired with one of my favorite fillers, quinoa. The colors in this salad are so beautiful together, they make me think of spring. The combination of roasted cauliflower, crunchy radishes, creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, peppery arugula and bright, lemony vinaigrette make this salad a delicious side dish for pan seared chicken or roasted salmon, or as main course on a warm spring day. If you love cheese, feel free to add some grated Pecorino Romano or crumbled feta to the quinoa for added flavor. 

If you love the Sanet rosewood bowl that this salad is being served in or the Nicola brass salad serving pieces, you can buy them from Alfred through the links, or at Alfred’s shop at 218 Columbus Ave in San Francisco.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish



1 cup uncooked white or golden quinoa
1½ cups water
½ teaspoon salt

Salad Vegetables & Greens

1 small head yellow cauliflower, cut into small florets *
1 small head purple cauliflower, cut into small florets *
1 small head romanesco or 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
¼ to ½ cup olive oil for roasting vegetables
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 bunch Easter egg radishes, greens trimmed, cut into halves or quarters
1 small purple daikon radish, thinly sliced into rounds with a knife or mandoline (optional)
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced into rounds with a knife or mandoline (optional)
4 handfuls baby arugula leaves
1 large ripe avocado, diced just before serving

*If you can’t find different colored cauliflower just buy 1 large head white cauliflower.

Lemon Vinaigrette

½ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons packed lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup minced or finely chopped shallot
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1¼ cups olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425° F.


Place quinoa in a fine sieve, and put the sieve inside a large bowl. Cover quinoa with cold water. Using your hands, rub grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain well.

Combine 1½ cups water, quinoa, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork and let cool to room temperature.

Salad Vegetables & Greens

Toss the cauliflower and romanesco with enough olive oil to lightly coat, the salt and pepper, then transfer to a lined baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just cooked through and golden at the edges. Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon Vinaigrette

Put all of the salad dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking – this will help to emulsify the dressing.

To Serve

In a large serving bowl, drizzle the quinoa with ½ cup of the salad dressing and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Add the roasted vegetables, radishes (reserve a few to garnish with) and arugula and drizzle more dressing over the salad and toss again. Add the avocado and gently toss once more. Garnish with remaining radishes and serve right away.