Quinoa Salad with Fennel, Caramelized Lemon, & Arugula

Quinoa Salad with Fennel, Caramelized Lemon, & Arugula

A bright and lemony salad to help celebrate the arrival of spring!



1 lemon

1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. olive oil

1 T. red wine vinegar, if needed

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. agave syrup (or honey for non-vegan)

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

3 oz. sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil)

1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

2 T. fennel fronds, chopped

2 cups thinly sliced fennel

34 oz. arugula


1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add rinsed quinoa and sun-dried tomatoes.  Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water.   Set aside to cool.

2. Zest lemon, reserving zest.  Cut lemon in half.  

3. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add lemon halves, cut sides down, to the skillet. Cook for approximately 8 minutes, or until the cut side is nicely brown and caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

3. Once cool enough to handle, juice lemon.  Add enough red wine vinegar to get 1/4 cup of liquid.  (I usually end up with about 3 T. lemon juice and 1 T. red wine vinegar.)  Add salt, agave (or honey), and 1/4 cup of olive oil and mix well.  

4.  Cut the fennel stalks from the top of the bulb, reserving some of the feathery fronds at the end of the stalks.  Wipe the outside of the fennel bulb with a damp towel to remove any dirt. Cut fennel bulb in half, vertically.  Cut out the core from inside the bulb.  Thinly slice the fennel.  A mandolin works very well here, and helps you to get extra thin slices of fennel.  If using a mandolin, I do not remove the core and instead work my way around it.  The core helps to keep the bulb intact so you have more to hold on to when slicing it with the mandolin.    

5. Combine cooled quinoa with reserved lemon zest and lemon vinaigrette.  Add fennel, olives, almonds, and fennel fronds, tossing to coat.  

6. If you are serving immediately, gently toss in arugula.  If you are making ahead, or keeping it as part of your weekly food prep, then keep arugula separate and serve salad on a bed of greens when you are ready to eat.  


*Salad keeps well for several days.  Keep arugula separate so it doesn’t get sad and wilted.  


Keywords: lemon quinoa, quinoa food prep, food prep, fennel salad, fennel and lemon, fennel and quinoa

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