« The Pantry Quiz #85 | Main | Quick and easy garlic naan pizza with arugula pesto {vegetarian} »

Quinoa rainbow salad with asparagus, feta and orange-tarragon vinaigrette {vegetarian, gluten-free}, and my brand new cookbook


I'm sorry, but I cannot wait one more minute. Asparagus, I must have you, even though it won't really be harvest season for another couple of weeks here in Rhode Island. This recipe for gluten-free quinoa rainbow salad, with pieces of lightly-blanched asparagus, bell pepper and feta cheese, wrapped in an orange-tarragon dressing, comes from my new book, Dress Up Your Salad. After making the salad a few times to test and photograph the recipe, I can't stop thinking about it.

If, like me, you're in a bit of a salad rut, Dress Up Your Salad, the fourth in my series of single-subject e-cookbooks, guarantees to help you turn everyday ingredients into exciting salads. No more same-old-same-old. I promise.

Dress Up Your Salad (new e-cookbook)!

Start with 25 salad dressings, add 25 salad combinations and links to 75 more (yes, that's 100 salad ideas), mix-and-match toppings and mix-ins, full-color photos of every recipe, and four headless videos sharing my favorite tips and techniques. If you've never seen the headless videos my husband Ted and I shoot out on our back porch (cue the occasional weird bird noises in the background), click on the YouTube link at the top of this page -- or better yet, click the links in the book.

The book contains some updated and revised favorite recipes from The Perfect Pantry, plus brand-new recipes never published here.

This is the perfect book for right now. Here in the Northeast, we're planting our vegetable gardens, and the farm stands are about to open. Even the supermarkets have upped their game, with gorgeous produce (like asparagus) from other parts of the country tempting even the most determined locavores.

Dress Up Your Salad is a super-bargain at just $3.99.

You can read Dress Up Your Salad on absolutely any electronic device -- smart phone, tablet, laptop, maybe even your VCR or coffee maker -- with a FREE Kindle app. Download the free app for your device, then download Dress Up Your Salad, and in less than a minute, you'll be traveling with me to salad heaven. (Why e-books? Check out five reasons I love writing e-books for you.)

Now, about this quinoa rainbow salad. I love the combination of colors and textures. Every Spring I see the new shoots of tarragon appear at the base of the "mother" plant, and this year, I'm going to make an extra effort to dry some of it to use in this orange-tarragon vinaigrette dressing, which was created by my friend Pat while we were testing recipes for the book.


Quinoa rainbow salad with asparagus, feta and orange-tarragon vinaigrette

From the pantry, you'll need: quinoa, feta cheese, agave, kosher salt, extra virgin olive oil.

This recipe from Dress Up Your Salad serves 4; can be multiplied (vinaigrette makes enough for a double amount of salad).


For the vinaigrette:
4 Tbsp fresh-squeezed orange juice
4 tsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried tarragon

For the rainbow salad:
1 cup cooked quinoa, any color
12 medium asparagus spears
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tsp grated orange zest, for garnish


In a glass measuring cup or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk together (or cover and shake the jar) until everything combines. Set aside, or make ahead and refrigerate.

Cook your quinoa on the stove top or in a rice cooker; you can do this up to 1 week ahead. Place the quinoa in a large mixing bowl.

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a small saucepan on high heat. Add the asparagus spears and cook for 1 minute. Set a bowl of cold water (ice water is even better) next to the stove, and drop the asparagus into the cold water to stop the cooking and set the green color. When the asparagus is cool, cut into small dice, and add to the quinoa.

Toss the diced bell pepper and feta cheese into the bowl with the quinoa. Pour in just as much vinaigrette as you like; you'll have some left over for another salad.

Gently mix everything together and place in a serving bowl. Top with some grated orange zest.

Serve at room temperature or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More quinoa and vegetable salads:
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Quinoa, avocado, tomato and black bean salad with chipotle lime dressing
Red quinoa, beet and pecan salad with pomegranate-orange vinaigrette
Vegan quinoa salad with roasted sweet potato, apples, dried cranberries and pine nuts
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Mediterranean quinoa salad, from Skinnytaste
Spring quinoa salad, from Two Peas & Their Pod
Cranberry orange quinoa salad, from Family Spice
Quinoa salad with spring radishes and greens, from The Kitchn
Southwestern quinoa salad with black beans, red bell pepper, and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Quinoa rainbow salad with asparagus, feta, and orange-tarragon vinaigrette. #vegetarian #glutenfree

Need some new ideas to turn your same-old salad into exciting salad? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Fantastic salad recipes can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love the idea of using asparagus in a quinoa salad, and this sounds like a wonderful combination of ingredients. The book is fantastic; congratulations!

Thanks, Kalyn. My friend Pat, who tests recipes with me, created the salad dressing, and we couldn't resist using it on a salad with a rainbow of colors and flavors.

This made an excellent dinner, with the brown basmati rice I had in the fridge. Then, I took the dressing for a bowl of slices of Asian pear and tomato, sprinkled with some Japanese togarishi - enjoyed that too. Now there's enough dressing left for one more adventure, or two.

Susan, I can't wait to hear how you use the rest of the dressing!

Such a pretty salad Lydia and the dressing sounds so good!

Jeanette, this salad is so gorgeous in real life. I hope you like it!

The comments to this entry are closed.