This recipe was conceived and developed for the Kids Food Reboot campaign, a national campaign presented by FamilyCook Productions to support parents in serving their children real food that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
I was inspired for this recipe by a cookbook I've had for a long time, Mollie Katzen's The Enchanted Vegetable Forest). One of the signature recipes in the book is a rice dish studded with broccoli florets, like trees sticking upward into the sky. I wanted to create a recipe for this campaign that would create a scene, and would give kids an ability to see food in an imaginative way. Instead of rice, I used quinoa, which gives it some nice nutty flavor and some extra protein. In addition to broccoli I used asparagus tips poking out of the quinoa salad. I added the broccoli stems and the asparagus stems (just not that bottom woody part) chopped up in the quinoa. Resting on the forest floor we have a nice piece of roasted salmon. And overlooking the whole scene is a rainbow made of cauliflower clouds and multiple colors of bell pepper. I dare you not to "awwwww" when you see this dish.
My favorite thing about this dish (no... not the rainbow) is how grown-up it feels. You've got quinoa and asparagus and salmon, these are some real adult flavors. But it really works for the whole family. The salmon is mild and sweet, perfect for kids. The vegetables are crisp but not too bitter. And the rainbow brings the whole scene to life.
Roasted Salmon with Quinoa Salad
Serves: 4 adults, or 2 adults & 3-4 children
16 oz fresh salmon filets
1 cup dry quinoa (any color)
2 cups water
1 bunch asparagus
2 crowns broccoli
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
Optional – 1 cup chopped mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, or a mixture of all 3
For the veggie rainbow:
½ cup cauliflower florets
½ cup thin slices bell pepper, various colors (red, orange/yellow, green)
Remove tough stem of asparagus by breaking off bottom ¼ of each stalk. Of the remaining edible portion, slice bottom half into thin slices, to mix with quinoa. Reserve asparagus tips. Prepare broccoli in the same manner, cutting off the stalks, peeling, and thinly slicing to mix with quinoa. Reserve the florets.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice salmon into 4oz portions (the child portions will be 2oz, one half this size, but when roasting salmon all portions should be the same time so the fish cooks evenly). Arrange salmon on a nonstick baking pan, skin side down. Brush top of salmon with 1 Tbsp olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or to desired doneness.
Sauté sliced asparagus and broccoli stalks in 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium size pot. Add additional veggies if desired. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until veggies start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add quinoa, stir so quinoa is coated in veggies and oil. Add water, increase heat and bring to boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Once water is absorbed, turn off heat, and leave quinoa to steam in covered pot for 10
minutes. Fluff with a fork prior to serving.
While quinoa is cooking, steam asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Steam either in the microwave or on the stove.
Plate 2/3 cup quinoa for adults, and ½ cup for children across bottom of the plate. Arrange the asparagus tips and broccoli florets on top and within the quinoa, then add salmon just above the quinoa. Create the veggie rainbow on the plate with cauliflower clouds and bell pepper bands.