Almost Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad

Almost Miss Spoons Quinoa Salad



“After awhile, said Cyrus, you’ll think no thought the others do not think. You’ll know no word the others can’t say. And you’ll do things because the others do them. You’ll feel the danger in any difference whatever—a danger to the whole crowd of like-thinking, like-acting men. What if I don’t? Adam demanded.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


Did you pick a word for this year? It’s a resolution for the new year, in a word. It’s another avenue for self-improvement. A mantra, a meditation in mindfulness, in just one word. To be better than before, to do better than before. To keep trying. I have chosen gratitude and forgiveness before. This year I chose kindness. I don’t think of myself as unkind, but I can be. Often it is a protection to cover that fragile place of vulnerability. I can find it tantalizing as a replacement for anger. A reward for getting even after a petty misunderstanding. The always unjust places of pride and arrogance can spew unkindness. How can being unkind be so right, when later it feels so wrong. It’s so borderline, the knife blade is sharp, it can cut. The blade slices while the rest of the knife just follows along. I’m trying not to follow along, to break the pattern. To keep the knife dull, it makes it more difficult for a fast, clean cut.

Almost Miss Spoons Quinoa Salad

The power of one word. A forceful reminder to stop and think before jumping. To be kind. Most of all, be kind to yourself. If we expect others to be kind to us, it would be best to set the example of how we want our lives to be. This recipe is all about being kind to ourselves. I’m good at making breakfast and dinner. Making lunch is such an interruption. Except I get hungry and need something nutritious to eat. I just want lunch to appear without any effort on my part. Since that rarely happens the next best thing is having something ready before I get hungry. Packing some greens with Almost Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad is just the kind of make ahead lunch I need. This is one way I’m being kind to myself. To recognize my hunger and find a nutritious answer. There is ample protein from the quinoa, feta and almonds, for more add an egg, tofu or chicken.


Feta cheese for quinoa salad

Have you heard of Gayle’s Bakery and Rosticceria in Capitola? If you are local or in the area it is a fantastic place to stop for lunch or a pastry. Gayle’s is so popular and busy that it is best to take a number upon arriving and before making any selections. By the time choices have been made it might be close to your turn to order. I often meet Gerlinde at Gayle’s and picky daughter and I always stop there when we go to Santa Cruz. While I get lost in the pastry case daughter inspects the seasonal salad offerings. The plan is to share something for lunch so we can justify having dessert too. Dessert is a must at Gayle’s!

making quinoa salad

Daughter has been raving about Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad for months. I didn’t think much about the quinoa salad until I realized she wanted to stop at Gayle’s specifically for Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad. There was some mention of cookies but there was this quinoa salad that had to be obtained. That was when I paid attention and decided to make the recipe at home. This is not Gayle’s recipe for Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad, but my attempt to make Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad. I’ve come close. The salad has an insane amount of green onions, make sure to add the entire cup to the salad. Galyle’s uses dried cranberries, I used dried tart cherries for this post. Either one is fabulous. The salad has lots of crunch from celery, I added almonds too. If omitting the almonds, add an entire cup of celery for maximum crunch. If you can’t get to Gayle’s anytime soon you can still make Almost Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad. Serve it with a side of kindness and resolve to try one more time.

Quinoa Salad
1C quinoa, uncooked
1/2t fine grain sea salt
1C thinly sliced green onion
1/2C thinly sliced celery
1/2C dried tart cherries or cranberries
1/2C crumbled feta cheese
1/2C sliced almonds
2T finely minced parsley
Lemon Vinaigrette
2T fresh lemon juice
4T almond or olive oil
1t agave or honey
1/4t fine grain sea salt
1/4t freshly ground pepper
  1. Throughly rinse the quinoa. In medium sized saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa and salt. Reduce the heat to low, so that the quinoa is barely simmering. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and some of the quinoa has burst open. Remove the pan from the heat. Keep the lid on the pan and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Cool the quinoa to room temperature before making the salad. The hot quinoa can be spread across the surface of a sheet pan to accelerate the cooling.
  2. While the quinoa cooks and cools prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl add the lemon juice, then slowly pour in the oil while continually whisking. Whisk in the agave, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, green onions, celery, dried cherries or cranberries, feta, almonds and parsley. Fold the mixture together until all the ingredients are combined. Add the vinaigrette and fold the mixture together until all the ingredients are covered with the dressing .

Almost Miss Spoons Quinoa Salad

26 Replies to “Almost Miss Spoon’s Quinoa Salad”

  1. Deb, when my Mom passed away this past August, my brother wrote the most beautiful eulogy memorializing her. The theme that ran throughout his eulogy was ‘kindness’, remembering that our Mom said it was always easier to be kind than unkind. I’m not sure about that, but I know she always took the high road, something for me to aspire to.

    This salad looks and sounds delicious. I have developed a real fondness for quinoa and am very happy to have another recipe to feed my addiction.

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful comment Mary. I agree, I wish I could always be kind. Sometimes it takes effort! The quinoa salad is a wonderful recipe, I know you will enjoy it.

  2. I don’t have a word for the year, but kindness would be the one. I concur with your thoughts on kindness as a replacement for anger. For me it, I guess, has the potential to be a slightly passive aggressive response to a (perceived) injustice, wrong or slight. As in, “kill them with kindness.” I’m sure you don’t need to watch yourself with that one though! Anyway, it is always quite a happy jolt to be told to go to a specific place to order a specific thing and then for it to light you up and want you to make it your way. Bravo. This looks marvellous. I would go with the sour cherries too. Much more interesting than cranberries, imo.

    1. Thank you for the gracious comment Kellie! Quinoa is so versatile and accepting of our various recipes that make use of it’s fabulous vegan protein.

  3. I appreciate your thoughts on kindness. Being kind to ourselves is truly important and so often overlooked. This quinoa salad is definitely a delicious way to do so! Having a word for the year is a great idea. I’ve been using a phrase, but if I boiled it down to one word it would be intention – much simpler. I just learned from a friend that in their family they choose a theme, such as music or nature, for their year which I thought was a very cool idea. Happy weekend to you!

    1. I really like the idea of intention. Very focused, a reminder to be with purpose. The family theme is inspiring too! Thank you for sharing Hannah, much appreciated!

  4. I love Gayle’s bakery and always stop in when I’m headed to Santa Cruz to visit family. In fact, I think I did try this salad on my December visit, and it is absolutely delicious! Love your variations on it, now I can replicate it at home!

    1. Laura let me know when your in the area, lets meet at Gayle’s for lunch! Thank you for the delicious comment.

  5. What a wonderful plan for the year. I love the thought of a resolution in one word. I’d like to think about that some more over lunch with this salad! The lemon vinaigrette sounds so good with it.

  6. A very good word for this year. The power of a word is very strong and, as for your word, most times it only takes a simple smile to be kind. 🙂
    A very lovely salad! I don’t eat quinoa much, probably because I haven’t seen very many interesting recipes. But I do love yours. I’m a fan of dried fruit and feta with grains, so this salad is for me. Thanks!

  7. I often make quinoa salads, and appreciate the balance of texture and freshness in this salad. So hearty, bright and satisfying.

  8. I love the idea of choosing a word for the new year. Resolutions seem to set me up for failure, but a word, I can do. Thank you! And of course your photos are as stunning as ever and the recipe sounds very tasty! Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

  9. I miss Gayle’s — used to go there when I lived in Menlo Park and drove to Santa Cruz or further south. I must confess I totally bypassed the savory treats and focused on the sweet!

    I can’t decide if I’m more fixated on that salad or your observations about kindness. You’ve got me thinking, Deb…and hungry!


    1. Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment Carol! Gayle’s has become somewhat of an obsession, as you can imagine.

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