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Healthy Eating, Salads, Vegetarian

M Cafe's scarlet quinoa salad

M Cafe's scarlet quinoa salad
Ann Johansson / For the Times

For two weeks straight, the hot topic around the communal table at Seed Kitchen in Venice has been the transition from winter to spring. "It's a really, really big shift. Energy is just shooting up from the ground," says Jessica ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time for the quinoa | Serves 6

Umeboshi-lemon dressing

  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon best-quality olive oil

Step 1In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, pickle juice and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes one-fourth cup dressing.

Scarlet quinoa and salad assembly

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red beets
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup diced Japanese or Persian cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • Umeboshi-lemon dressing
  • Salt

Step 1Wash the quinoa under cold running water in a fine strainer. Drain well.

Step 2In a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the beets, vegetable broth, olive oil and lemon juice. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the quinoa, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook the quinoa until the grains are translucent and tender and the germ has spiraled out from the grain, about 15 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Remove from heat and drain any remaining liquid.

Step 3Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate the grains, uncovered, until cool.

Step 4Fluff the cooled grains and place them in a large bowl. Gently stir in the cucumber, chives, dill and lemon zest. Stir in half of the dressing, then taste the salad and add additional dressing or salt as desired.

Note: Umeboshi (plum) vinegar can be found at Asian markets.


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