I really don’t cook just for fun as much as I have in the past just because life sometimes gets in the way. So when we were invited over to dinner at a friends house for carne asada and my husband asked me what I wanted to bring, I had to give it some thought. My answer was a roasted corn salad as corn is perfect with carne asada. Mind you, I have never made a roasted corn salad, but that has never stopped me before.
Over the next couple of days, the recipe came together in my head. I knew that I wanted essentially a charred corn effect. Next, I wanted a touch of heat. So for the roasted corn, which turned into roasted vegetables, I used fresh cut corn off the corn, diced orange peppers and diced Anaheim peppers and a late addition of asparagus. I also needed, fresh, sweet and salty or as I like to say, arugula, vinaigrette and feta cheese. The perfect foil to hold up to all of this flavor is quinoa, and I chose red quinoa for the visual effect.
The vinaigrette is amazing and could be used on any type of salad or even over fresh fish. The citrus and shallots play off the sweetness of the roasted corn for the perfect balance.
This recipe can be used as more of a suggestion than anything else, because there are so many ways you can go with it. Roast your vegetables on the grill when the weather warms up, use a different type of grain, change up your greens, or even eliminate the feta for a completely vegan dish.
Whatever you do, don’t wait to try this salad! It will quickly become a favorite.
Charred Vegetable and Red Quinoa Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
- 3-4 ears sweet corn
- 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 bunch asparagus, diced into about ½ pieces
- 3 cups arugula, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
- 1 ½ cups red quinoa (well rinsed)
- 1 large lemon
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp. honey
- ½ shallot
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
Put the quinoa on right away as it will need to cool before mixing into the salad. Be sure to rinse your quinoa well and then add to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for another 5 minutes. Remove lid and toss with fork. Let cool.
Pre-heat oven to about 425 degrees. Cut kernels from corn cob onto large rimmed baking sheet. Add bell and Anaheim peppers. Drizzle with good slug of olive oil, toss and season generously with kosher salt. Roast about 20 minutes, tossing a couple of times. Add diced asparagus and continue roasting until vegetables are a bit charred and crispy. Set aside and let cool. This is also great to do in a vegetable basket on the grill.
Next make the vinaigrette by finely dicing shallot or put into a small food processor. Add juice of one lemon, one lime, honey. Mix well. Add vinegar & oil and mix again. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Finally, in a large bowl add the quinoa and roasted vegetables and toss to combine well. Add the arugula and feta and toss again. Finally add ½ of the vinaigrette and toss well. Add remaining vinaigrette to taste. This salad is best served at room temperature.