CPK Salad : What to do with that quinoa

CPK Salad : What to do with that quinoa

Last week or so I posted a little ditty about quinoa, what it is and how to cook it, etc. One thing most people do with it is to add it to a salad. One of my all-time favorite salads is at the California Pizza Kitchen. Called ‘Quinoa & Arugula Salad’, it’s just as advertised,…only better. This is a light tasting salad with enough protein punch to carry you for hours. Since I’ve mastered the quinoa,…let’s make some.


CPK Salad; copycat

Step 1
Step 1

Step 1

Gather some quinoa to cook up, and asparagus to steam. 

Really good when you do it right.
Really good when you do it right.

Check that post from last week on making that quinoa!

Step 2
Step 2

Step 2

Clean up that asparagus. Bend the end of one until it snaps, then use it to measure where to cut the rest in one whack.

Step 3
Step 3 : ready for steaming

Step 3:

Steam the asparagus. I used a steamer on the stove , but you can use the microwave. To be honest, I let mine cook too long – busy taking photos! Unless you shock them in ice water while they’re cooked, but crunchy, there will be ‘carry-over’. That means mushy veggies. Don’t do it ! Respect the ‘grass.  

Step 4
Step 4

Step 4:

The Dressing. 

CPK serves theirs with a champagne vinaigrette. Most online recipes have a slightly different variety, but I’m going full blown copycat here. I love this salad! Why are they so far away !? (the closest CPK is more than an hour drive for me)

My Champagne Vinaigrette:

3 Tbl Champagne Vinegar

1/2 Tbl Dijon Mustard

1/4 tsp Oregano, dried

3 Tbl Olive Oil (the good stuff! – I even used a Meyer Lemon infused version )

1/8 tsp Pressed Garlic (like the tiniest clove from the inside-smashed)

2 or 3 dashes of Hot Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Honey or agave

Get it together and whisk to combine. The mustard will help emulsify the mixture.

The Salad:

OK, so as a salad, it’s a make as you like deal…but here’s what I did.

On a big plate of arugula mix (I love those baby green mixes), drizzle with some of the dressing and toss. Then sprinkle on about a 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa, 1/3-1/2 cup steamed asparagus, 4 or 5 pieces of sun dried tomato, chopped, a sprinkling of feta cheese AND some red onion*.

* Note: How to calm down an onion. Ever get those salads and the onion could take your head off? Yeah, me too. Well, at CPK they don’t – why? Are they pickled? No,…it’s a head-slappingly simple trick. Slice the onion thin first, let it float in a little ice water while you put together the rest of the salad. Ta-da! Onion taste that won’t leave you with ‘onion breath’.

CPK Salad - copycat
CPK Salad – copycat

That’s it – my CPK Salad – enjoy!   


[yumprint-recipe id=’12’]

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