This recipe is about as nutrient packed as they come. Salmon brings on the protein and omega 3s. Quinoa, which is actually a complete protein, packs the essential amino acids, calcium and iron. And a boatload of veggies and greens give you the necessary vitamins and minerals. The citrus complements the salmon and tenderizes it, so once grilled it melts in your mouth. Even if you aren’t a big salmon fan or have never cooked quinoa, consider going out of your comfort zone and give this dish a try
1 ½ lbs salmon, skin on
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp agave
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup multi-colored quinoa
½ small red onion, finely diced
1 cup asparagus, chopped
½ zucchini, finely diced
½ yellow squash, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
½ cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
2 cups leafy greens: arugula, spinach or rainbow chard
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Note: Regular quinoa works fine or you can mix regular quinoa and red quinoa.
1. Heat grill to medium-high. Let it get nice and hot.
2. Cut the salmon into 4 equal segments. Cut the orange and lemon in half. Squeeze one half of the orange and lemon juices onto the salmon. Cut the other half of each orange and lemon into 4 slices.
3. Drizzle and rub the olive oil, agave, salt and pepper onto the salmon segments with the citrus juices. Place an orange and lemon slice over the top of each segment.
4. Brush (or paper towel) the grill with olive oil. Using a large spatula, place the salmon segments onto the grill skin side down. Close the lid and let cook for about 8 minutes.
5. Remove the orange and lemon slices. Using the spatula flip the salmon. This is the tricky part that may take some trial and error. You may have to work the spatula under the salmon skin if it is sticking to the grill. Sometimes when flipping the salmon starts to flake, so use your hands to hold it together while flipping with the spatula.
6. Close the lid and lower the heat to medium and let cook approximately 4 minutes longer. Make sure the salmon is still slightly rare inside when you remove it from the grill because it will keep cooking after you remove it. This ensures you don’t end up with a dried out piece of salmon.
1. The trick to quinoa is not to over cook it into mush. The nutty flavor comes out the most when it still has a bite to it. Add 1 ½ cups water to a small pot with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
2. Heat ½ Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for 8 minutes, then add asparagus and sauté an additional 2-3 minutes.
3. Defrost the peas for about 1 minute, in a bowl, in the microwave.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the other ½ Tbsp olive oil with the lemon juice or white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the onion and asparagus, peas, and all the other veggies to the bowl and toss with the dressing.
5. Add the quinoa to the veggie mixture and combine thoroughly. This salad can be served warm or cold.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.