My husband and I love eating at CPK, otherwise known as California Pizza Kitchen. I especially like eating there since they are very accomodating of my special requests. I can get a veggie pizza that is plant based with out cheese and they don’t flinch. The chef even came out to meet me once so he could connect a face with the pizza! My husband likes the variety of ‘lighter’ options they offer, and serving sizes aren’t out of this world. He recently has fallen in love with their Qunioa (keen-wah) Arugula salad. I like it too, but of course I don’t get the oily dressing and have them bring limes instead. I do think the quinoa is cooked with a little bit of oil though. At one of our recent visits, he suggested that this salad would be easy for me to recreate; we would just have to find a recipe for the Champagne vinaigrette. After finding some great looking arugula at our local famers market, I decided to try the recipe tonight.
There are several websites that offer the recipe knockoff, including the dressing. I used two different websites to make my dinner, and excluded the salmon and cheese that one website offered. I also made a no oil version of the dressing for myself. The basic salad recipe comes from Gluten Free Glutons (https://gfgluttons.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/recipe-rip-off-quinoa-and-arugula-salad) and the dressing recipe comes from InfinATE Appetite (http://infinateappetite.com/2012/11/22/champagne-vinaigrette). Since I didn’t add any oil to my dressing, I added some ground flax seeds to thicken it up. My husband absolutely LOVED the meal. He declared it even better than CPK’s version. I did do one thing different that he recommended and that was to add some sliced grapefruit to the salad (kind of hard to do when grapefruit isn’t really in season, but thanks to Whole Foods for having them!). It took the salad to another level!
Here’s the recipe and the dressing, omit the oil if you want a truly plant strong dressing. One thing I did was I used super thin baby asparagus, and used a LOT of it. I also used tri colored quinoa which added a nice touch. I didn’t measure, so you’ll have to figure that part out on your own, depending how many you are serving. I would love to serve this for a lunch or dinner for guests. We’ll definiately be enjoying this yummy salad often this summer!
Quinoa-Arugula Salad, Ladybug Style
asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (I soak mine in hot water, I don’t use the ones packed in oil).
red onion, thinly sliced
*optional-grapefruit, cut into thin sections
1/4 cup Champaigne Vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup olive oil (if using)
1 Tbs stone ground dijon mustard (with the mustard seeds in it)
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbs (or less) honey or agave
ground flax seeds if not using oil (maybe 1-2 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor or immersion blender and set aside.
- Cook quinoa according to directions, set aside to cool (I cooked mine earlier in the day so it was very cool).
- Steam asparagus 3-5 minutes until just tender. Rinse in an ice bath to stop the cooking and cool it down.
- Toast pinenuts, but be careful not to burn them, set asside to cool.
- Assemble salad: Arugula on the bottom, generoulsy sprinkle the cooked asparagus over the arugula, add some of the sundried tomatoes. Top with a generous helping of quinoa. Spread the onions around the edges of the salad, top with more asparagus, sundried tomatoes and pine nutes. Add the grapefruit if using.
- Drizzle dressing over the top, serve with a good crusty bread.