Shredded zucchini, quinoa and microgreens are tossed together with creamy feta and pumpkin seeds in this simple but flavorful zucchini quinoa salad.
I found myself scrapping the last specks of green off the plate, chasing the delicate little stems around with my fork. Not wanting to miss those evasive slender shoots, I coaxed them onto the tines with my fingers. The vibrant greens wove through the pale fluffy curls of quinoa and salty chunks of feta, their sharp grassy flavor contrasting with the mild-mannered nutty seed.
Surprisingly intense in flavor in an array of vibrant colors, microgreens are the smaller, younger version of salad greens and herbs. Arugula, basil, cilantro and spinach are just a few of the various varieties of microgreens. Harvested young when only a few weeks old, these young seedlings are intense in both color and flavor. Unlike sprouts which are simply germinated seeds. grown in water and eaten whole, microgreens are grown in soil and cut at the root.
Like sprouts, however, and similar to their mature, leafy green cousins, microgreens are a good source vitamins, minerals and other beneficial phytonutrients. These wonderfully tender miniature greens got their culinary start in California. Chefs and homecooks alike immediately took to the tiny greens. Capitalizing on their access to fresh local produce, these grassy, spicy, earthy flavors soon became a staple of California cuisine.
Despite their inherent liveliness, microgreens are rarely the star of the show. Rather, they play a strong supporting role; a humble jumble of greens as a garnish or a flavor accent, adding beauty and dimension to a dish. That’s exactly what they do here as they tumble together with shreds of raw zucchini, mild, nutty quinoa, and creamy feta. The diminutive stems peak through, adding a lightness and bright clean flavor.
Fresh, nutty, creamy and satisfying, this is the kind of salad that highlights the best that Mother Nature has to offer.