quinoa spring salad

I go through a love-hate relationship with quinoa. I’ll go through phases where I make a batch every week and eat it up for quick lunches or dinners but then I’ll go months without making it.

After a pretty long quinoa dry spell, I needed something enticing to bring it back into my life. And I decided that something would be quinoa spring salad.

I combined cooked quinoa with a bright vinaigrette and then topped it with sauteed leeks and asparagus with some salty feta cheese and shrimp for extra protein and flavor. It was delicious! Since most of it can be made ahead of time, it is perfect for rushed weeknight dinners or packed lunches.


Spring Quinoa Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes


Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • juice from one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • seasonings to taste: red pepper flakes, salt & pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sized leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb shrimp


Prepare quinoa as directed and set aside.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings. Toss with quinoa.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to hot pan.

Add garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add leeks and asparagus, cooking for about 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat pan to saute shrimp. Saute until cooked through or hot.

Toss leek mixture with quinoa.

Top with shrimp and serve immediately.

Top with goat or feta cheese crumbles if desired.

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daily eats: 3.6.12

So I kind of got fired from one of my side jobs last week.  Oddly enough, I was actually more proud than upset. I’ve never been one to really stand up for myself and tell people exactly how I feel, but I was pushing back on most of the procedures this company wanted me to follow. Not because I simply didn’t want to do it, but because I have many years experience in the natural food industry and I guess I wanted to share my expertise with them. ;) I’ve never been fired in my life, but I feel like you have to get fired at least once, right?

Anyway, onto the food from yesterday! Who can NOT believe it is March?! I turn 29 this month…

Coffee: coffee + 1/2 & 1/2. I haven’t gotten to Whole Foods yet to pick up my coconut creamer, but I must say, the 1/2 & 1/2 tastes great. Mornings have been really easy this week, after waking up naturally at 8am in Mexico (6am LA time) my body is used to waking earlier which makes it possible to fit in a few hours of work before breakfast! I’m hoping this will stay with me forever!

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Workout: I haven’t gone to yoga in a few weeks and I’ve really been missing the effects. Now that yoga isn’t a matter of walking across the street, I need to make a much better effort to ensure I’m getting it in. I really do need it. I took a hot-power fusion class, sweat a ton and could tell that it had been a while, it was really hard! Post-yoga I rehydrated with some coconut water on the way home.

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I put some steel cut oats on the stove for breakfast and then got distracted with a work phone call. Sure enough, 20 minutes later, and my oats were black. I decided toast and eggs would be a much quicker breakfast and considering that it was 11am, I needed food ASAP!

Breakfast: 2 eggs + 2 slices french meadow sprouted bread with earth balance.

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Lunch: romaine lettuce + 2 slices turkey + mustard + mayo with a few carrots + celery. This was a meal of pure convenience and something I could eat during the 5 minutes at home between a friend date and some work errands. It did the trick. The Taster saw the picture and said, “that looks awful and why are you eating my turkey?” :)

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After my errands I took my work to a coffee shop for a change of pace. A little more coffee + 1/2 & 1/2. I’m hoping this helps me stay up past 9pm tonight…

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Snack: miso soup x 2 while I was getting things ready for dinner. I’m loving miso soup. I heat up water, add a scoop of miso, a few dashes of ume plum vinegar, wakame and some green onions if I have them.

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Dinner: wild cod + tartar sauce +asparagus + sweet potato rounds. The vegetable components of this meal were great and very tasty – the fish? Not so much. The texture was terrible, not sure if it is the quality at Trader Joe’s or the fact that it had been frozen/thawed a few times.

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I think I’ll finish off the day with some chocolate…

Spill – have you ever been fired from a job? I want to hear some good stories!! 

add this: salmon



  • Wild or Farm-Raised Salmon: wild is better because the fish eat a natural diet, instead of grains that farm-raised fish are fed. This makes the ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s better in wild fish. (Ideally, the ratio of omega fatty acids in our diets would be 3:1 (omega-6 to omega-3) but is typically closer to 30:1 in Western diets)
  • Alaska Salmon is considered the best
  • There are many varieties – try them out to find the one you enjoy the most



  • Great source of protein
  • Full of omega-3 fatty acids (this is a good fat that helps decrease inflammation)
  • Good source  of Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fish can help protect against heart disease and to protect against autoimmune diseases
  • It is delicious!




Are you a fan of salmon? How do you add it into your diet? 

salmon cakes with lemon garlic aioli

Salmon Cakes are an easy yet very delicious meal, and one that I made on a regular basis when I was just starting to get into food and cooking.

They don’t require any fancy ingredients, they come together quickly and, the end result is so amazing that I made them frequently when I was trying to impress the Taster with my cooking. I think they worked! ;)

The salmon cakes are crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside and most of the process can be done ahead of time, making dinner come together in minutes. Thanks to my friend Mercedes‘ Mom for the recipe – she made it for us when we were in college and I’ve been hooked ever since!  I lost the worn recipe card a few years ago, but I think this comes very close.

Salmon Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Ingredients (2 dinner servings, 4 appetizer)

For the Salmon

  • 1 lb salmon, baked and flaked
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used water crackers)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tsp dill, salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbsp oil for frying

For the Aioli

  • 2 Tbsp mayonaise
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste


For the Salmon Cakes

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.

Scoop out about 1/4 cup of mixture and shape into a small patty.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat oil in large pan.

When hot, add salmon cakes, cooking for about 3-4 minutes per side.

For the Aioli

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

Refrigerate for at least a half-hour.

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