Spring Quinoa with Salmon & Fresh Herb Salad

Spring Quinoa with Salmon & Fresh Herb Salad

Spring Quinoa with Salmon & Fresh Herb Salad


Looking for simple dinner? This is a tasty dish that is perfect for a spring evening by yourself or a dinner party with friends (in which case, you could pair it with a beautiful glass of Sauvignon Blanc!). It has the appeal of comfort food, but it's definitely good for you—healthy fats, lots of green, and quinoa...all great things for you body. Enjoy!



Serves 2

For the fish:

  • 2 pieces of wild salmon, around 5 ounces each (I’ve used salmon, but you can use any fish you like – check out Seafood Watch to see which catch is safest for you and the ocean)

For the herb salad (organic ingredients when possible):

  • Small handful of picked mint leaves
  • Small handful of picked basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Make this super simple dressing for the salad in a bowl; set aside until later.

For the Quinoa (organic ingredients when possible):

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I use a Microplane for this, but if you don’t have one, no worries)
  • ½ cup diced celery (about 2 celery stalks)
  • ¾ cup peas (feel free to use organic frozen ones if you can’t find fresh)
  • 1 lemon
  • Sea Salt (I try to use Maldon Salt whenever I can)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of agave nectar (honey is totally fine if you don’t have agave nectar)
  • 1 ½ (or more if you prefer) ounces fresh goat cheese, broken up into smaller pieces
  • Medium size handful each of mint, basil, and parsley


1.         I like to toast my quinoa first, but it’s not necessary. It adds a nice nutty dimension to the quinoa. To do it, move the raw quinoa around in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat for about a minute. You’ll be able to smell the nuttiness that I was referring to. Then add the quinoa straight into a pot of boiling water. If you’re not toasting the quinoa, just start here. I cook my quinoa like pasta—in boiling water and drained. I usually cook it for just over 10 minutes, so that it’s cooked but still has a little bite.

2.         In a separate saucepan, heat up the extra virgin olive oil over a medium to low heat and add the onion and garlic. I like to keep the heat low here. The objective is to not let it color, but to make it soft and translucent.

3.         After about 2 minutes, add the celery along with half the lemon zest and a little bit of salt. Continue cooking over a low heat for another 3 minutes, or until the celery has become soft. It should still have some bite, and keep its lovely green color though.

4.         Then add the peas over the same heat for a further 2 minutes or so, until they are just cooked and still bright green.

5.         By this point, your quinoa should be just about ready, so drain that, and add it to the pea mix and remove it from the heat.

6.         Now is a good time to cook the fish, so just heat a minimal amount of extra virgin olive oil up in a pan and add the fish and cook on medium-high heat. I like mine pink in the middle (salmon can be served medium rare*), so do less than a minute on each side in a hot pan. However, adjust cooking time if you prefer well done (about 4 minutes on each side). Season with salt and pepper as you go.

7.         When you’re fish is done, and you’re ready to plate, add the fresh herbs to the saucepan with the quinoa, along with the other half of the lemon zest, a good squeeze of lemon, salt, the agave nectar, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Then add the goat cheese and give it a good stir.

8.         Taste for seasoning, making sure there is enough beautiful lemon in there to lift everything up.

9.         To plate, spoon the quinoa mix onto a plate and top with the salmon. Then quickly toss the herb salad in the dressing you made earlier and scatter over the salmon.

10.        Enjoy!

*Because the salmon is cooked to your liking, remember that consuming raw or undercooked seafood may increase your risk of foodborne illness. If you have any dietary questions, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

~ Chef Jane Coxwell 

Chef Jane Coxwell believes the best meals come from thinking and caring about who will be eating them. Starting with a beautiful, approachable recipe means you can enjoy the process, which will make your food taste better.  The result is food that is colorful, vibrant and balanced without being fussy or demanding. Jane completed her culinary training in her native South Africa. She then traveled to France to begin work in the yachting industry, where she saw the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of a meal: buying the food, cooking it, plating it, and having direct contact with who she cooked for. She served as Executive Chef at Hall Wines in the Napa Valley, run by former US Ambassador to Austria Kathryn Hall and her husband Craig Hall. After cooking on their yacht, Jane was asked to cook for Clinton fundraisers and other events at the Napa winery. In 2009, Jane joined Eos, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg’s sailing yacht. 

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