Jazz in City Park is a Denver summertime tradition.

Every Sunday night from June through August, thousands of Denverites gather in City Park at 6 pm.  People bring their dogs, their kids, their friends, their picnic baskets, their blankets, their lawn chairs and they settle in to listen to live Jazz.  It is a lot of fun.

My friend Kendra loves Jazz in the Park.  She arrives early and grabs a spot on the lawn by the paddle boat rentals for our group.  We all bring various food and wine contributions for our Sunday picnic.

Kendra makes the most amazing dishes; she is a chef, and she owns a catering company called Flavor Catering.  Every week I gush about how good her food tastes and I always ask her, “Was this hard to make? Because something that tastes this good can’t be simple!”

Kendra waves off my comment and says, “oh no, this is so easy.”

This week as I was eating my THIRD HELPING of Kendra’s Quinoa salad I declared, “This is officially my latest Healthy Discovery! You have to email me this recipe”

From a nutritional perspective Quinoa is a powerhouse, I’m a big fan of Quinoa.  This 5,000 year old South American whole grain is gluten-free.  Quinoa is a complete protein grain with 16 grams of protein per serving and it has been heralded as the super grain of the future.

If you’ve never had Quinoa or you’re looking for a new way to fix Quinoa, here’s Kendra’s recipe.  It is one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in a long time!

Spiced Quinoa Salad with Grilled Zucchini & Asparagus

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric, divided

2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika, divided

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup quinoa

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise

1 bunch slender asparagus, tough ends cut off

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

4 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Juice of ½ lemon

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, coriander, and 1teaspoon smoked paprika; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups chicken stock, quinoa, and coarse salt; bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (medium high heat). Place zucchini and asparagus on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with ground cumin, coriander, remaining  1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and remaining 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

Transfer asparagus to grill basket, and place on one side of grill.  Place zucchini slices directly on grill horizontally.  Grill the veggies until tender and browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to cutting board. Cut asparagus and zucchini crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Add asparagus, zucchini, green onions, and parsley to cooked quinoa, then drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Kendra also emailed me 101 Simple Salads for the summer season which was published in The New York Times last week.

Finally, check out Kendra’s web site.

Bon Appetit!

Comments 3

  • Sagan says: August 4, 2009, 8:45 am

    That sounds delicious! I adore quinoa.

  • Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up says: August 6, 2009, 4:04 am

    Quinoa is on my short list of new things to try, maybe I’ll have to give this recipe a shot! Thanks for posting!

  • Dr. J says: August 7, 2009, 5:44 am

    Concerts in an outdoor setting are one of the great things about summer!

    Quinoa is a super-food! It’s easy to prepare and easier to enjoy, thanks for a wonderful “salad” recipe, Jolene and Kendra!!

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