Quinoa Salmon Salad with Fresh Lemon and Dill

quinoa salmon  dill lemon salad

quinoa salmon lemon and dill salad photo by vsimon

It’s too hot to cook!

Luckily, I have some leftover salmon from yesterday. What to do with it?

Quinoa is quick on the stovetop, it won’t heat up the kitchen.  I have lemons and celery in the fridge. Dried tomatoes in the freezer. And lots of fresh dill in the garden.

Quinoa colors

White, red, black, purple, orange? I have used white and red, the only difference is the color. Any color would work here, use whatever you have.

Wild or farm raised salmon?

There is only one answer for me, wild caught Alaskan salmon. Click on the link for a thorough review of all the issues at World’s Healthiest Foods website.

Lemons 1, 2, or 3?

You choose. Are you timid, or do you like lots of tangy lemon flavor? Are you making this to serve right away, or for tomorrow?

We like sharp, fresh lemon flavor and heady aroma. Personally, I almost don’t think you can get too much. And the flavor fades over time. So I made this with the zest and juice of two lemons for tonight. And will add the zest and juice of a third lemon before I serve the leftovers tomorrow.

I buy fresh lemons by the bag, not one at a time. Don’t even bother with that insipid bottled juice. And add fresh zest to anything that calls for juice.

And I hope you know, fresh lemons are a great way to add flavor to foods without adding a whole bunch of salt.

Dried tomatoes?

Yep, that is what I have. Dried from last years garden. Red, yellow and orange tomatoes. I know they look like colored bell peppers in the picture, but they are tomatoes. Come to think of it, sweet peppers would be good in this salad, but I didn’t have any.

I keep our thin dried tomatoes in the freezer because they are crispy and easy to break up into smaller pieces by hand. At room temp they are leathery and I need to cut them with a knife or scissors.

Our crop of garden tomatoes won’t be ripe until August. But by all means, use fresh tomatoes if you have good ones. I would stir in about 1 cup diced raw tomatoes at the end. Don’t cook them with the quinoa.

Fresh dill

Dill is a two-fer. The seeds and the soft feathery green fronds each have their purpose. Use the fronds here. Vince puts whole seed spays in jars of pickles. They are pretty and add flavor there.

Go ahead, plant this fragrant herb in your garden. Dill is so easy, you will only have to do it once. You will get volunteers every year after.

Sow a few seeds it in the veggie or the flower garden. It quickly grows about three feet high, with a starburst of seeds at the top.

If you can’t find a packet of seeds, just buy dill seeds in the spice aisle and plant them.

Dried dill weed works well in this recipe too. It is mild, don’t be afraid to use a few tablespoons. But you will miss out on the distinctive fragrance of fresh stalks.

Fresh herbs are another great help to add flavor without lots of salt too.

Quinoa Salmon Salad with Lemon and Dill

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cooked salmon, flaked

1/2 cup diced celery

1, 2, or 3 fresh lemons, zest and juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill weed, soft fronds only

salt to taste

Check the quinoa package to see if you need to rinse it before cooking. Many kinds are now prewashed, saving you a step.

Add quinoa, water and dried tomatoes to a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and let stand for 15 more minutes. It always comes out fluffy, not mushy this way.

Spread the quinoa tomato mixture on a rimmed sheet pan to cool quickly.

When cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add celery and dill.

Add the zest and juice of as many lemons as you like. Toss to mix thoroughly. Taste and chill until ready to serve.

Flower garnish

Did you notice the nasturtiums in the photo above? They are from our garden too, and edible. The flowers are bright, beautiful and peppery. They provide a surprising kick of heat. They are easy to grow in full sun, flowering all summer long.

Cranberry Cole Slaw

cranberry cole slaw

cranberry cole slaw photo by vsimon

Are you craving crunchy freshness right about now? When meltingly tender slow-cooked stews and soups predominate. They are welcome, but sometimes you want some bite-y food. 

And make that simple, quick, healthy, and low cal too, please.

I like this lightly dressed and fat free. But you can easily add oil if you want to increase the calories.

Mix it in a minute, then stash it in the fridge. Some say it is better made ahead, and it does change over time. The dressing magically multiplies, the cranberries swell and soften. Everything turns a pretty pale pink.

We like it all ways, in any stage of the lifecycle. Right away, the next day, and a few days later.  It’s all fresh, all crunchy.

cabbage (9)

the fresh close up photo by vsimon

Cranberry Cole Slaw

Yield 6-7 cups  
1 tablespoon honey 15 ml
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 30 ml
14 oz shredded cabbage and carrot blend 700 gm
1 cup dried cranberries 160 gm
1 teaspoon celery seeds 1 gm

Put honey and cider in the bottom of a large bowl, stir until well mixed.

Add everything else and stir to combine.

Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

*Please don’t skip the celery seeds. They add fragrance, flavor, and a bit more crunch. Personally, I don’t think it is possible to make cole slaw without celery seeds.

How do you like cole slaw?

Fresh Cranberry Salad Dressing

‘Tis the season, for fresh cranberries.

Are you craving a bright, lite, and healthy dressing to perk up your greens? Look no further.

fresh cranberry salad dressing

fresh cranberry salad dressing photo by vsimon

This one is simple, gluten free, fat free, low cal, packed with flavor and nutrition.

It can be sugar free too. I have successfully made it with Splenda for clients that want that. And I think your choice of sweetener, whatever it is, would work. Go ahead, give a go. And please let us know.

The cranberries give it wonderful body. This is a stick to your greens dressing. Not a slide to the bottom of the plate dressing.

Cranberry Salad Dressing

yield: about 1 cup metric measures
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries 100 gm
3/4 cups water 180 ml
1/4 cup sugar 50 gm
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 30 ml
1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon to taste (it is less than 1 gm)

In a small saucepan, cook everything but the tarragon. Heat until all the berries plop apart and the sauce thickens.

Put dressing into a small bender and puree until smooth.

Add tarragon.

The dressing thickens a bit as it cools. When it is completely cool, stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if you like it thinner.

Refrigerate leftovers, they keep for several weeks.

Serving suggestions

Skip the marshmallows and drizzle over mashed sweet potatoes. Oh, that is radical!

Or top a salad of fresh spinach and shredded chicken or turkey. And chewy dried cranberries, crisp apple slices, and crunchy walnuts.

What are your ideas?