Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

This Spring Quinoa Salad has quinoa tossed with peas, fresh herbs, feta, bacon, and almonds, plus a homemade Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. OH YES.  | pinchofyum.com

Freshy fresh in my mouth! Sometimes salads can be so so good.

This week it was my birthday! Wait, did I already say that? I think I might have also already mentioned that special love that I have for pressies and gifts and pretty things with bows on them. I am so lucky because I got to have three little birthday shindigs – one with my family, one with Bjork’s family, and one with Bjork. Romantical birthday dinner dates are his specialty.

But then something not so lucky called I logged into Amazon two days before my birthday happened. Nononononono. Sometimes it’s like my brain is not even on.

Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. Fresh, bright flavors like whoa. | pinchofyum.com

Right there at the top of the order history was this gorgeous new Canon lens burning a hole through the screen. Mmk, let’s think this through. We share an Amazon prime account (♥) so our purchases are listed together. I did not order a lens, and Bjork did not tell me he ordered a lens. My birthday is in two days.

So then I have to either a) jump up and down on the couch to express my joy about this most awesome ever gift, or b) cry, because I love love love surprises and my birthday surprise is not going to be a real surprise. I went with option A because A NEW LENS!

Bjork knew that I knew, but obvi he still wrapped up the present and let me open it on my real birthday because he’s sweet like that.

Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. Fresh, bright flavors like whoa. | pinchofyum.com

So here is the debut of the new lens with this spingy quinoa salad and honey lemon vinaigrette! I am kind of paranoid to tell you that this is its debut because I took these photos in such a pre-salad-eating hungry girl flurry. I love two or three of them (and a few of my unpictured practice shots) aaand the other ones are sort of struggling to get by thanks to my Minnesota nasty weather late afternoon light. But regardless of the light, I knew right from the first shot that I was going to like this lens. I literally I took one single photo of a lemon on the wood table and birthday-present-screamed to Bjork into the other room: OMG I LUV IT!!!!!!

Thank goodness none of the rest of you have to live with me. Up down and all around.

Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. Fresh, bright flavors like whoa. | pinchofyum.com

For you photography peeps who like to know all the techno-details, this is a Canon 2.8 100mm lens.  I have a Canon 7D and up until now I was using a 50mm 1.4 (which I also lovey) but sometimes I like to get in really obnoxiously close to the food so you feel like it’s right up in your face. And this lens is how I’m going to be able to make that happen! I have a lot to learn about photography in gen and also about using this lens. And I couldn’t be more excited. Learning is good.

Rah rah for birthday gifts that inspire learning!

Rah rah for salads that taste like a fresh party! Think about these ingredients for a second: quinoa. peas. feta. bacon. fresh basil. fresh cilantro. almonds. honey lemon vinaigrette.Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. Fresh, bright flavors like whoa. | pinchofyum.com

Now think about yourself eating those ingredients and feeling healthy and happy and full. I can imagine this easily because it’s all I’ve been eating in the last 24 hours. Tossed with some spinach and a handful of good crackers (okay fine sweet potato chips) and BAM. Power meal.

How many hours till lunch?

This Spring Quinoa Salad has quinoa tossed with peas, fresh herbs, feta, bacon, and almonds, plus a homemade Honey Lemon Vinaigrette.  | pinchofyum.com

4.8 from 13 reviews
Spring Quinoa Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
For the salad
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2-3 cups frozen peas
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup freshly chopped basil and cilantro
  • ½ cup almonds, pulsed in a food processor until crushed
For the dressing
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 large juicy lemons)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • a few tablespoons honey (I did 3, but adjust to taste)
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. I make this the night before and let it chill in the fridge so it separates better for the salad.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and then turn off the heat. Add the peas and cover until bright green. I do this instead of regular boiling so they don't get wrinkly! Toss the quinoa with the peas, feta, bacon, herbs, and almonds.
  3. Puree all the dressing ingredients in the food processor. Toss the dressing with the salad ingredients. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve tossed with fresh baby spinach, on crackers, or just by itself!
Notes
The tossed salad can be kept for up to two days without getting weird - it actually soaks up the dressing, and it works great to toss the leftovers with fresh greens. Also, in my opinion, you can never have too much fresh herb-age and mint would be a great addition.

Spring Quinoa Salad and Honey Lemon Dressing Nutrition Facts

For the next two weeks, as we prepare for the official launch of my new eCookbook and meal planning system, I’m really excited to be sharing a few recipes that I would consider to be Everyday Healthy. This recipe can be made quickly and it tastes so fresh, bright, and crunchy yum, plus packs in a ton of nutritious ingredients. That’s exactly what Everyday Healthy means to me! This recipe isn’t in the eCookbook but it sure could be – it fits all my qualifications for a practical and delicious meal that will make you feel all glowy and good.

If you like that sort of recipe and you want to pre-order the Everyday Healthy eCookbook Complete Package at a majorly discounted rate, this is your time!

Everyday Healthy is now available for sale. Click here to check it out.

It’s Wednesday! Baby steppin’ our way to the weekend.

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Comments

  1. I was JUST telling my fiancé how much I LOVE quinoa and wanted to work on some quinoa recipes this weekend.

    Gotta give this one a try! Because with Feta and Peas, how can you go wrong?! Looks awesome!!!

    Happy Birthday too by the way! Hope it was a memorable one!

    AJ

    • Thanks AJ! This is a great starter quinoa recipe for you. Also, A Couple Cooks has lots of good quinoa recipes! Check them out, too. I hate being so predictable with the quinoa/food blogger thing, but right now I’m totally loving it in stuff like this.

  2. Oh what a pity with the lens and Amazon and all, but your hubby sounds so sweet! Feel blessed to have such a wonderful man by your side!
    Love your blog, your recipes, your photo tutorials, just everything!
    And the salad is already on my imaginary grocery list.

    All the best!
    Regina (from Germany)

  3. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, of course! How could I forget about that?!

  4. This makes quinoa actually look amazing (which is hard to do!). Bravo and happy birthday to you!!

  5. Beautiful quinoa salad!

  6. You can have individual accounts on Amazon (your own log on) and share the same prime account. Does that make sense. My husband and I have separate accounts with Amazon (we can’t see each others purchase history, he can’t use my gift card balance, preferences are mine) BUT we both use one prime account. I believe you can link two accounts to one Prime. For future reference.

    Happy belated Birthday! What a great present!!!

  7. Yerm! This looks great, although I’ll probably amp up the herbs and take out the cheese and bacon. Thanks for posting!

    http://thatumamilife.wordpress.com

  8. Wow a new E-book ; congratz! Also happy b’day! i recently just had mine too.

    The salad looks divine and so light too. You know how to make salad drool worthy.

  9. This pictures are gorgeous and the recipe looks wonderful! I had to check our credit card statement at christmas because of a possible breach. I learned that my husband got me a new Vitamix. I was overjoyed but disappointed that the surprise was ruined. I love it anyway!

  10. found you through food gawker and so excited to try your recipes! thanks for sharing this one which looks amazing! can’t wait to see whats next. xx. gigi. http://www.gigikkitchen.com

  11. Awww that’s so cute of him to gift you a camera lens!! That’s like a dream gift for us food-o-holics lol!!

  12. Happy belated birthday, Lindsay! Lenses always make the best birthday gifts, don’t they? I cannot wait to give this salad a try – yum!

  13. Congrats on your new lens =) nice.

    Hmmm, is it bad that just today I learned how to pronounce quinoa? I’m kinda embarrassed about how I’d been saying it…..

    Is this a safe place to say that I’ve never tried quinoa either? But I’m ready for the leap! Gonna do it.

    And I seriously love the way those peas set off your dish. Gorgeous! It’s on fire…..

  14. This looks like the perfect work-lunch salad! I have so much quinoa in my cupboard, but I have been ignoring it. I guess it is time to stop!
    Yay for new lenses, sweet husbands, and Birthdays!!!

  15. Hi Lindsay, beautiful photos…the peas look like little shamrocks without the…sham. I too dally with an old Pentax I’ve had since the 1980s…it still works great. I’m loving this salad idea…it’s fresh, super-foodie and all that good stuff. I have actually made something similar but without the feta and peas. I added shredded carrot, cut up broccolini and spring greens. I am going to make your version, sans bacon (veggie here), as it looks totally yummiful. Happy birthday, Ms. Taurus! Tauruses love a fine meal, for sure! Thanks for a super duper site. I am new to the wonderful world of food blogs and find yours most intriguing. You and your hubby do an awesome job!

  16. This looks great Lindsay! Perfect for weekday lunches. I’m totally with you on the Minnesota light thing. It was lightless and grey all last weekend, total bummer when there’s a pan of brownies to shoot!

  17. Happy birthday, Lindsay! Your photos are already amazing so I can’t wait to see what this new lens brings to the table. And…this quinoa salad looks phenomenal which is saying a lot because quinoa salads are everywhere and this one managed to draw me in, make me comment (which I rarely do) AND pin it. Um, yeah, that’s one good quinoa salad.

  18. You are adorable! And happy birthday!!! I love that we share a name and a star sign. (I knew I liked you for a reason ;-) )

    You know what I also love? This salad!!! It looks phenom! And the new lens is super exciting! Can’t wait to see more of it, or more so what is shoot…oh you know what I mean!

  19. Lindsay, that’s so so so exciting!! Both the yummy salad AND the new lens! My dad actually told me he’d buy me a new lens for my birthday last June once I picked one out, buuuuut… I kind of never did. I have a Canon though, so if you’re already in love with this one, maybe it’s about time I checked it out! :) And still on the topic of my dad, he absolutely adores quinoa! Every time I visit, he offers to make a new quinoa dish for dinner, so I’m definitely sending along your recipe to him. He loves all things salad-y and healthy, so I’m sure he’ll put this on his to-make list!

  20. Happy birthday !

    Just one question, is it 1 cup of dry quinoa or 1 cup of cooked quinoa !

  21. Looks great and I love your pictures! You have to try this Chicken, Quinoa, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Raisins, Apple, and lemon salad

    http://www.inallofhersplendor.com/2014/03/20/the-goddess-quinoa-salad-recipe/

  22. Happy birthday and congrats on your new lense. I keep also finding birthday presents as my OH is rather bad at hiding them. I love this salad especially with the almonds blitzed in.

  23. I’m so glad you told us what the lens was, Lindsay, because just at about the point you told us I was getting really antsy to know! The photos are gorgeous!
    I also love the idea of this salad. There are so many lovely tasty flavours rocking around in there!

  24. My husband and I love quinoa, and this salad sounds amazing. When the weather gets warmer here, I’ll definitely make this salad.
    I got so excited reading about your birthday gift! So happy for you! Happy belated birthday!

  25. That salad looks so fresh! You had me at bacon, but basil and feta cheese and almonds are good too. I know all about the difficulty of getting surprised with gifts, shared bank accounts and all, it’s hard not to notice!

  26. Awe, that’s too cute that he still wrapped it, and very beautiful pictures, as always! This salad looks very yummy, and I totally feel you on the weather, it’s been dreary here in WI too, and taking food photos has been hard all month, and we’re supposed to be getting another TWO WEEKS of rain…eeeeek! Happy belated birthday again :)

  27. Happy Birthday! I have a couple of lenses I am wanting, so I feel your excitement. Too bad about finding it early though. The salad looks wonderful!

  28. Happy Belated Birthday, Lady! I couldn’t relate more to your Amazon-ruined-surprise moment. Eric and I have taken to telling each other things like, “Don’t look at our bank account online,” or “Don’t look at Amazon for a few weeks” because we’ve definitely had situations like yours before and I LOVE a good surprise too!

    Love the new lens. A little jeal for sure, but excited to see your new pictures with it!

    • hahah! So true – I am excited about the possibility that we could have separate account pages with one account?! Or something? That’s what a commenter tells me. I’m going to look into it!

  29. What a gorgeous salad, love this combination! Happy Birthday, great gift!

  30. Happy birthday from me to you too! Congrats on having a thoughtful romantic husband. I love love love surprises also. I have total sympathy for your dismay. BUT you did the right thing. It’s wonderful you took the time to realize you have the freedom to choose your reaction to a situation. Pretty much your decision was—should I make myself feel crappy or make myself feel happy. Well duh, I want to feel happy at birthday time.

  31. Rachel says:

    eCookbook purchased and anxiously awaiting the release. What a cool concept, Lindsey. Thanks to both you and Bjork for the work and passion you pour into this space. Happy belated birthday!

  32. I just recently found your blog from a friend sharing one of your gorgeous photos on Facebook. My husband and I are currently directing an orphanage in Kenya so I was ELATED when I spent, let’s be honest, 2+ hours perusing the first time I came across your blog! Your recipes are AMAZING and I have a long, long, long list of them to try when we get back to the US in July! Thank you for inspiring me with food & photography! Your work is stunning.

  33. I love this!

  34. Is it 1 cup cooked quinoa or 1 cup raw quinoa that is then cooked? Thanks

  35. Happy belated bday!! And yippee for the new lens! What a fabulous gift :)

    I’m absolutely loving this salad. My whole site is quinoa recipes, and what I love is that after three years of blogging about quinoa, there are still so many new ideas that I find!! This is so creative and I absolutely can’t wait to try it (we’re having a dinner party tonight and I think this would be perfect). And to me, quinoa is the epitome of everyday heathy; cooks fast, tastes great and is loaded with nutrients! I can’t wait to check out your ebook for even more delicious ideas!

  36. That lemon vinaigrette sounds refreshingly awesome! I am hoping to buy my first “real” camera soon and I know I have a TON to learn!!

  37. Ummm I happen to have all of those ingredients on hand! I know what’s for dinner tonight!! Thanks for the recipe – looks amazing! Pinning!

  38. This sounds delicious. I can’t wait to make it this week.

  39. You make it look so easy and appetizing! Amazing :)

  40. Man the price of quinoa has gone up quite a bit. I have heard that it will continue to in the next little while. It’s so good and healthy though. Your recipe looks well balanced. A little sweet, sour, and crunch all in one salad. We’ve been getting some crappy weather up here in Alberta, so I can relate on the poor crappy weather lighting.

    Always good photography!

  41. This salad was delicious and everyone who I shared it with really liked it! I don’t even like peas, but they gave the salad a great texture and the bacon and almonds gave it a nice crunch. I actually wished I’d put the dressing on right before we ate it, instead of letting it sit for a few hours. It was still good, but the lemon flavor wasn’t nearly as strong.

    • Thanks for the comment Megan! Glad you guys liked it and thanks for the tip about the dressing! Definitely the lemon brightness is really yummy so maybe squeezing some over the whole thing before serving would be a good alternative if you’ve already put the dressing on.

  42. That salad looks amazing, so fresh and zingy – just delicious. Happy Birthday!

  43. I made a vegetarian version of this the other night, basically without bacon, and it was delicious!

  44. This was my first time making anything with quinoa and it was a huge success!! Yummmmmm!! AND My husband loved it! What?! :) Some of his co-workers saw him eating it and he told them about your blog. Just sharing the love!! Thanks for continuing to expand my cooking repertoire. Your blog is fabulous.

  45. Would adding roasted garlic to the dressing be good?

  46. This looks DELISH! Not a fan of Cilantro at ALL though, think parsley would be a good sub?

  47. This recipe looks delicious, I love quinoa in salads and I think it was a great idea to combine peas with quinoa. I also love lemon based dressings with quinoa, I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

  48. We finally made this yesterday, and yum! Such great flavors all together! It’s perfect for a hot summery day, too! Thanks for sharing! I think this will be a new summer staple–you could try different veggies in it depending on what’s in your kitchen (I threw in some zucchini and it worked great).

  49. In my first comment it was meant to be five stars; oops!

  50. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! I made it for my family last night and they said it was one of the best dishes they have ever had!! The addition of the crisp bacon and almonds with the peas is incredible. The quinoa was so fluffy too. Such a hit!

  51. I made this with no bacon and served over baby kale greens. It was delicious and easy. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  52. Barbara says:

    Just made this and it was wonderful. I used 1/4 c on the oil. The dressing tastes like lemonade. Very delicious. Love all these new recipes you’ve been posting lately
    Thanks,’
    Barbara

  53. Barbara says:

    I added sun-dried tomatos instead of bacon. The dressing is great, I added a spoonful of it to my lemon water. If you really want to get crazy add a spoonful of it to cran juice-yum yum!

  54. I’ve been following your blog for just a couple of months now (actually found it when Williams Sonoma pinned one of your recipes on Pinterest, just FYI), and this is my favorite recipe of yours that I’ve tried so far! I’ve sent it to everyone I know that likes quinoa and everyone that has tried it has loved it just as much as I do! I don’t always add the almonds, but I like it either way.

  55. Amber F says:

    Just made this and its DELISH!! Will definitely be adding this to my quinoa recipe list! :) all of you food looks so wonderful and yummy, and like REAL food! Keep up the good work…

  56. Made this tonight with half red and half regular quinoa. I forgot to add the feta, but don’t miss it at all. And my crazy grocery store hasn’t had lemons for about a week, so I made with fresh lime juice instead. It’s a very flexible basic recipe – and I think the lime goes quite well with the cilantro. One of my favorite flavor combinations.

  57. This is the basis of my Superfoods Diet, veggies, non-gluten carbs like Quinoa or brown rice and some protein. It is indeed so versatile, rotate veggies and protein and you can have 20+ combinations. I bought your ebook about food photography and I’m buying DSLR these days and hopefully in few months I’ll have pictures close to yours.

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