Grilled Asparagus & Creamy Lemon Quinoa

When you think about it, Spring is such a kind season. It's like Spring knows we've been eating hearty, rib-sticking dishes all winter and we need a bit of a break - something to help us out in the waist-line department because before we know it, bathing-suit season will be here.

And so Spring kindly encourages the earth  to present us with tender veggies. It's not judgmental, it would never suggest we might have overdone it a bit with all those hearty gratin's ... instead it says, "Here, try this out. It's simple and clean and it will make you feel like a million bucks."

One of my favorite springtime veggies is asparagus, so I'm re-posting an asparagus recipe that is one of my favorites, thanks to one of my favorite veg-centric blogs, Green Kitchen Stories. This is a quick and easy dish to make - I encourage you to make the quinoa first as the longer it sits about, the better it tastes. When you're ready to pull it all together, just pop the asparagus on the grill and you're good to go.

Grilled Asparagus & Creamy Lemon Quinoa

Serves 4

(From Green Kitchen Stories)

You can prepare the quinoa in advance and just grill the asparagus for a little over 5 minutes before serving.

1 cup white quinoa
2 bundles asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup roasted, marinated red bell peppers, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup feta cheese
1 handful fresh coriander/cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (reserve some leaves for garnishing)
salt

For the dressing
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds

Rinse the quinoa, place in a small saucepan and add 2 cups water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce and lemon juice. Gently crush the cumin seeds with a pestle or the back of a knife and add to the dressing.

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a griddle pan over high heat. Rinse and pat the asparagus dry and place on a plate. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and roll them until well coated. Season with salt. Arrange the asparagus directly over the heat on the grill rack or place in the pan and cook, turning as needed, until nicely marked on all sides without being burned – 6‑8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the quinoa, dressing, bell peppers, feta and coriander or parsley in a large mixing bowl. Arrange the grilled asparagus on plates, top with the quinoa mixture and a few coriander leaves.