Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

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Melancholy was the mood in the Soave house last week. On this particular spring morning dark clouds settled in and a gentle rain was tapping on the windows. Normally, this weather would have made me restless but instead of sulking I brewed a pot of coffee, put on some Johnny Cash, and whipped up a leafy, cruciferous salad.

Since doing the Whole30 last month I’ve been reflecting on seasons in life. My time on the elimination diet was a season of fasting, of practicing self control, and giving my gut a restart. At the time, it was necessary. But it wasn’t permanent. I needed a reset and I needed to set apart time to accomplish this.

Over the summer I will inevitably enter a season of celebrations toasted with crisp champagne, forkful after forkful of wedding cake, and long walks on the pier with ice cream in hand.

Shauna Niequist hits on this idea of feasting and fasting in her book ‘Bread and Wine.’ “I’m learning, slowly, a rhythm of feasting and fasting that brings a rich cadence to my year.  I use the word fasting loosely, as an opposite term to feasting-permission and discipline, necessary slides back and forth along the continuum of how we feed ourselves.”

Valleys and peaks in life are natural. Feasting and fasting are necessary for growth. Rainy mornings aren’t permanent and will eventually give way to sunny afternoons. Keeping the perspective that gloomy days are only temporary makes it easier to settle in and delve into the moody moment just like seasons of fasting don’t last forever. They make the feasting and celebrations all the more enjoyable.

So on this morning I’ll be ok with some rain. I will crank up The Man in Black, whisk together some dressing, and know that this season is as necessary as the next.

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

Serves 2

  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Broccoli, chopped with stems
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa, cooked according to the packaged directions
  • 2 Cups Chopped Romaine
  • 2 Cups Baby Kale
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Pecan, chopped

Maple Mustard Dressing

  • 1 Tsp Stone Ground or Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tsp Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Juice from Half a Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

For the Soft Boiled Eggs (Optional)

  • 2 Eggs

Preheat the oven to 425. Place the broccoli on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with a hefty pinch of salt and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the broccoli is starting to brown and get crispy (this may take 5-10 more minutes if using frozen broccoli).

While the broccoli is roasting, make the dressing by whisking the mustard, maple syrup, salt, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the olive oil.

If using soft boiled eggs, place 2 eggs in the bottom of a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and run cold water over the eggs until cool enough to handle. Peel right away and set aside.

Heat a small pan over medium heat and toast the pecans.

In a large bowl combine the quinoa, romaine, kale, mint and basil. Add the cooled broccoli and drizzle in the dressing. Toss to combine. When ready to serve, top with toasted pecans and soft boiled eggs, if using.

This salad can be made up to a day in advance and is even tastier the next day. Can be served at room temperature making it perfect for parties and get togethers.