Quinoa usually doesn’t get rave reviews in the du Pont household, particularly from my balding hunk of a hubby. But this Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Quinoa actually met with approval by many (including the hubby) when served at last weekend’s Easter lunch.

There was no outside inspiration for this recipe. Instead, this pure weekend table original was spurned by an inner desire to serve a heartier, yet healthier side salad to lamb that was unusual and contained sugar snap peas and mint. The quinoa served as the glue, the chickpeas as the textural component, and the goat cheese was well something I added in because I love goat cheese. Up to you how much of the latter you want to add, but you don’t need much for the desired impact.

Key here is letting this salad sit after you’ve dressed it in a simple vinaigrette of grape seed oil, rice vinegar and honey for at least an hour before serving. The mint really needs to work its way through the dish.

I loved this side with a grilled lamb loin chop marinated in a blend of fresh rosemary, thyme and mint — the mint being the common thread between the lamb and salad.

While served in early Spring, this salad could be spectacular on any spring or summer lunch buffet. And it particularly appeals to those – like me – who are in a full on panic that they have to put on a bathing suit in public very soon. In fact, after an unfortunate incident at a business meeting earlier this week, I am officially on a strict diet of lean proteins, vegetables and few if any carbs (wah!).

You see, I stumbled into a room full of business people on Tuesday, looking less than stellar and probably a nice shade of green. I really should have stayed home sick given that I had only stopped puking at 10 pm the night before from a stomach bug.  Instead, I had almost crawled onto the Metro North train to get into the city for my big meeting only to spend the entire ride running back and forth from the sweet smelling bathroom to dry heave over the not so porcelain god.

As if this ride of nausea was not enough of a rough start to my day, when I arrived wearing what I thought was a nice, fitted, and professional pink dress without the spanx that I had removed in an apparent misstep on the ride in, I was welcomed with a congratulations on my pregnancy by a fairly senior female business colleague. This was particularly awkward given that I AM NOT EXPECTING A CHILD, but clearly look like I am….SIGH. I will not spend the rotten words on this page to explain the depth of my annoyance at this comment that should really have never been uttered. Needless to say, I need to be devoted to eating healthy options like this Sugar Snap Pea salad with quinoa as apparently I have to lose a small child from my middle before Memorial Day weekend arrives. So here’s to a May of healthy eating!

Sugar Snap Peas Salad with Quinoa
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup red quinoa (dried)
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup of goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  1. Cook 1 cup red quinoa according to package directions. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. Drop sugar snap peas in for 2 minutes.
  3. Drain and immediately run ice cold water over the peas to ensure that the cooking process stops.
  4. Add quinoa, sugar snap peas, green onions, chick peas, radishes, mint and goat cheese to salad bowl. Mix together and then dress with vinaigrette.
  5. Let sit for an hour or two before serving.


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