Spinach and Feta Sausage, Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

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1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper taste
1 pound fresh asparagus (ends trimmed)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons scallions (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons tarragon (finely chopped)
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest (finely minced)
1/4 teaspoon fresh garlic (minced)
salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons buttermilk
freshly ground pepper


  1. Grill the sausage and hold warm until ready to serve

  2. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a dish towel over the pan, then return the lid to the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or longer undisturbed. Transfer to a salad bowl and fluff with forks.

  3. Steam the asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Rinse with cold water, pat dry and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add to the quinoa, along with the pine nuts, scallions and tarragon. Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, olive oil, buttermilk and pepper. Shortly before serving, toss with the quinoa and asparagus mixture.

  4. Cut the grilled sausage, mix into the quinoa and serve.