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Strawberry, Quinoa, and Ricotta Salata Salad

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Total time 55 mins
Yield

Serves 4

We could make a meal of this deliciously unexpected combination, but it's excellent alongside a grilled steak too. Sautéing the quinoa in oil before simmering helps it come out fluffy every time.

Ingredients

  • SALAD
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small dried red chile, broken in half
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 qt. loosely packed watercress (about 1 1/2 bunches, trimmed to about 5 in. long)
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered or halved strawberries
  • 1 large Persian cucumber or 1/4 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1 small spring onion bulb or 2 green onions, cut into 2-in. slivers
  • 1/4 pound ricotta salata or feta cheese, thinly sliced
  • DRESSING
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • About 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Nutrition Information

  • calories 328
  • caloriesfromfat 62 %
  • protein 8.9 g
  • fat 23 g
  • satfat 7.7 g
  • carbohydrate 18 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • sodium 307 mg
  • cholesterol 7 mg

How to Make It

  1. Make salad: Heat oil with chile and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring often, until it starts to turn golden in spots, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup water, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes, then pour quinoa onto a plate and let cool. Discard chile.

  2. Meanwhile, put remaining salad ingredients except for cheese in a wide bowl and set aside.

  3. Make dressing: In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp. water with all dressing ingredients except oils. Set aside 10 minutes; whisk in oils.

  4. Gently toss quinoa with 2 tbsp. dressing. Spoon onto 4 dinner plates. Mound salad mixture on top and tuck in cheese. Season generously with more pepper and serve with remaining dressing to add to salads.