This battle was pretty challenging. Quinoa can be so bland and blue cheese so strong. Apricots can be super sweet and artichokes, again, rather bland. But when I thought about the dish a bit, I thought I could blend the flavors together nicely in a salad format. For fun, I laid the dish out two ways. One as a standard salad and the other as a stacked, tiered dish (took that idea from a fancy restaurant). I wanted this to be a dinner meal so I splurged and added shrimp and scallops to the dish, which I’m glad I did. Adding mixed greens and a final raspberry poppy seed dressing really helped the dish come together.
My family had a hard time at first explaining how they felt about it. Things like “light and tasty” floated in the air. Steven’s favorite part of the dish was the “orange stuff.” That would be the chopped apricots I mixed together with the blue cheese. He thought it really made the dish pop and asked me to add more of that to the dish. He said he’d “eat this once a week.” Kelly ate dinner, but wasn’t entirely overwhelmed, though she loved the shrimp and the dressing. Me? I thought it was great. This is something I would eat all the time. I even saved the leftovers and am having it for lunch tomorrow. In my mind, the apricots, blue cheese and raspberry dressing totally made the dish and I didn’t need the seafood. Only thing, there’s a lot of components to the dish, so it’s a bit time consuming. But it’s worth it in the end. For explanation, I’ll list each ingredient and recipe in components. At the end, layer them all together however you’d like and dress with the rasberry poppyseed dressing.
Seafood Quinoa Salad with Raspberry Poppyseed Dressing
- 1 lb sliced cooked shrimp (I got mine pre-cooked from the fish store)
- 1/4 lb cooked scallops (I heated butter in a pan with juice of one lemon, cooked them for 2 minutes per side until done, then cooled and sliced them thinly)
- mixed greens (cleaned)
- Big Jar (6 - 8 oz) marinated artichokes (drain them and chop finely)
- 6 oz dried apricots (I chopped them very fine and then mixed them together with the blue cheese)
- 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
- Quinoa - enough for One Cup. Follow cooking directions on box. When I finished, I added juice from half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of butter and mixed it together.
Raspberry Poppyseed Dressing
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1/2 C red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder (I didn't have so I used minced onion)
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
Combine all ingredients except for oil and poppy seeds into a blender and blend for about 30 seconds. Gradually pour oil into blender in a slow, steady stream. Stir in poppy seeds. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
In one example, I layered the plate with mixed greens, then a big scoop of quinoa, then a scoop of artichokes, then layered the shrimp and scallops, then sprinkled the apricot/blue cheese mix. Drizzled dressing over.
In example number two, I had a mold and I layered the bottom with quinoa, then artichokes, then the shrimp and scallops, then apricot/blue cheese mix. I kept "squishing it down" so it would be firm and hold. When I picked up the mold I quickly added the greens and dressing - you have to do it fast, the first batch fell apart in a big mess! When we ate, I actually added much more greens to my daughter's plate.