If we had the patience and skill to work with ever-so-fragile phyllo dough, we’d make spanakopita far more often than the once-every-lifetime (ok, maybe twice?) we’ve made it so far…
But we possess neither, at least not both at the same time, so we must resort to spanakopita-like flavors, in quick and effortless dishes like quinoa with spinach and feta cheese.
We threw in a couple of extras. Zucchini because we had it and figured that through the summer, almost every single person is going to come across a zucchini in their kitchen. The walnuts are for texture. This was originally going to be a vegetarian main dish/side dish for grilled salmon, but we just threw the cooked salmon right in. It is so perfect we can barely get over ourselves.
Spinach, Zucchini, Feta, and Walnut Quinoa with Salmon
The amounts in this recipe are not exact because a dish like this is meant to be made with handfuls of chopped vegetables, drizzles of this, and pinches of that, all of which will be different from person to person. Adjust everything accordingly.
You can prepare all of the components ahead of time and toss together right before serving. If you think this is too much, only toss together what you will eat in one meal. Store the leftover components separately in the refrigerator, then toss together when you’re going to eat it.
makes enough for 1 or 2 or 3 or 4
½ cup walnuts
2 tablespoons cooking oil (grapeseed)
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half-moons
2 cups cooked quinoa
3 to 4 large handfuls fresh baby spinach, chopped
half green onion, thinly sliced
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
juice from half a lemon
finely chopped fresh parsley
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
cooked salmon, broken into pieces (or canned salmon in olive oil works, too)
In a large frying pan, toast walnuts over medium-low heat until they are fragrant. It will take about 10 minutes, making sure to shake pan or stir walnuts very often. Remove walnuts to a large bowl.
Heat grapeseed or other cooking oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini and cook until garlic is fragrant. The onions, garlic and zucchini don’t need to be cooked all the way through. Scrape into bowl with walnuts.
Add cooked quinoa, baby spinach, and green onions to bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, sprinkle with finely chopped parsley, about ¼ teaspoon of salt (to start) and a few turns of a pepper mill. Toss gently to combine.
Add feta cheese and salmon, and toss again only to incorporate the feta and salmon (these are added last so they don’t break apart too much). Taste and adjust olive oil, salt and/or pepper.