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Greek-Inspired Spring Quinoa Salad: Kyra of Kyra’s Bake Shop
Greek-Inspired Spring Quinoa Salad: Kyra of Kyra’s Bake Shop
This Greek-Inspired Spring Quinoa Salad recipe is from our friend Kyra Bussanich, owner of the award-winning Kyra’s Bake Shop in Portland, Oregon. Though Kyra is best known for being a 4-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars (and the only gluten-free baker ever to win), she also has a healthy side and loves to eat her veggies. Read on for some of Kyra’s favorite CA GROWN recipes!
Fresh produce is so important to me, whether I’m creating our sweet or savory recipes in the bake shop, cooking for myself at home, or entertaining friends and family. I’ve been inspired to cook healthy and delicious meals since I was a teenager and responsible for cooking dinner for my family twice a week. Most people assume that because I’m a pastry chef I have a big sweet tooth. While I do enjoy an occasional nibble of our world-famous cinnamon rolls, and fully admit that I bake cookies (and eat them) as a form of stress relief, there is nothing I love more than a big bowl of salad for dinner.
I visit California often. Each time I’m there, I am continually inspired by the fresh food scene, the incredible abundance of ripe, seasonal produce, and the creative, laid-back style of cooking that seems to be everywhere – from home kitchens to the trendiest restaurants. California farmers grow the best produce in the world. Plus, they are dedicated to sustainability, and strive to protect the land that feeds us. These values resonate with me, and I understand that “California Grown” is more than a slogan, it’s a way of life.
I’m proud to use California produce as much as I can in both my bake shop and at home. There’s nothing like a big bowl of always-in-season California Grown leafy greens! It’s my go to food to help cheer me up during the dark rainy months of a Portland winter.
Check out a few of my favorite recipes inspired by fresh, seasonal California produce. Scroll all the way down for my Quinoa Salad Recipe!
Big & Bold Brussels Sprout Breakfast Salad
Salad for breakfast? Absolutely. This hearty meal is loaded with California Grown goodness, including roasted Brussels Sprouts, maybe the most underrated of the leafy greens. Once you try it, you’ll make this salad for dinner too!
Tropical Chicken Tostada Salad
I love this bright tropical dish for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. The tropical chicken salad is fantastic as a creamy, crunchy dip with chips or tostada pieces, and I love that it gets its creaminess from avocado instead of mayonnaise.
Super Easy Taco Pie with Avocado Crema
This is a fantastic—and delicious— way to get a bunch of veggies into your meal. It’s also gluten-free and can easily be made dairy free. It travels well for picnics and backyard parties, only dirties a few dishes, and is great to make ahead of time, and keep a couple jars on hand in your freezer.
Raspberry Mascarpone Tart with Pistachio Crust
This delicious gluten-free tart features a toasted pistachio crust, a creamy mascarpone layer, and gorgeous glazed raspberries. It’s the perfect treat! Not only is it delicious, but it’s also pretty enough to impress guests.
Red White and Blueberry Cake Roll
For 5 year old me, the fun in the 4th of July wasn’t the fireworks (too loud). Nor was it the hot summer sun (our sprinkler was adequate at best). No, the fun for me was in eating all the red, white and blue desserts!
This cake roll (or roulade, in French) is super simple, and still captures the fun and whimsy that 5-year-old me would look for at the picnic table.
Kyra’s cookbook, Sweet Cravings, 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle is available at your favorite book store. In the meantime, you can make one of her favorite salads that’s a bright and healthy one-dish meal.
Greek-Inspired Spring Quinoa Salad
- 12" Risotto Pot or similar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil EVOO
- 1 cup diced white onion from about 1/2 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 2 medium lemons reserve the zest of one, about a tablespoon’s worth, and the juice of both
- 1 quart veggie broth 4 cups
- 4 oz from about 4 handfuls washed baby spinach
- 4 scallion stems chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
- 7 oz feta in brine drained and crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper about 7 turns of the peppermill
- 1 firmish avocado diced
- Heat a large risotto pan (mine is about 12 inches in diameter, with 3 inch sides) over medium-low heat. When the pan is warm to a hand hovering over the center, drop the evoo into the pan, along with the diced onion, and the minced garlic. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
- While the onions are sweating, heat the veggie broth in a small sauce pan over medium low heat, until it is at a slow simmer.
- Once your onions are translucent, add in the quinoa to the onion mixture, and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir frequently so they don’t burn until the quinoa is lightly toasty brown and has a nutty aroma. This should take about 4 minutes.
- Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir until the lemon juice is mostly absorbed.
- Add a cup of the simmer broth to the quinoa mixture, and stir occasionally until the broth is at least 90% absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth, adding it a cup at a time, stirring and letting the additional liquid absorb before making your next addition.
- Once all the broth has been added and is nearly absorbed, stir in the sliced scallions, the frozen peas and the fresh spinach. Place a lid over the top of the pan for about 3 minutes to let the spinach wilt. Add in the chopped dill and crumble the soft feta into the pan. Stir to combine. Add your salt and pepper, as well as the red pepper flakes, and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the diced avocado, spoon into bowls, and garnish with additional fresh dill, if desired.