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Quinoa Salad with Carrots, Pickled Shallots, Ricotta, and Sumac Vinaigrette


For the quinoa pilaf:

3 tablespoons blended oil (Dissen prefers a 75/25 blend of canola and olive oil)

½ cup diced shallot

1 tablespoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1½ cup black quinoa

6 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

For the carrots:

20 baby carrots

4 tablespoons butter

3 thyme sprigs

Peel of 1 orange cut into wide strips

Salt and pepper to taste

2½ tablespoons blended oil

For the sumac vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1½ teaspoons minced garlic

1½ teaspoons dijon mustard

1½ teaspoons ground dried sumac

1½ teaspoons honey

¼ cup cider vinegar

¾ cup blended olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the pickled shallots:

4 large shallots

1 cup champagne vinegar

2 garlic cloves

3 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

For the garnish:

6 baby carrots, shaved lengthwise into ribbons

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup cooked green peas

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

2 teaspoons thinly sliced basil

2 cups ricotta mixed with black pepper

1 cup puffed quinoa


  1. Make the pilaf: In a medium pot over medium-high heat, warm oil and add shallot, garlic and red pepper. Cook until shallots are translucent, about 1 minute Add the quinoa and toast for about a minute. Add ½ cup water, thyme, and bay leaf ,and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Strain quinoa through a fine mesh sieve and spread out on a sheet tray to fully cool. Set aside.
  2. Make the carrots: Preheat a water bath with an immersion circulator to 75 degrees celsius. Place carrots, butter, orange peel, thyme, and salt and pepper into a vacuum bag and seal. Place bag with carrots into water bath and cook for 45 minutes. Remove bag from the water bath and place directly into an ice water bath to shock the carrots. Reserve. Alternately, blanch the carrots in salted boiling until tender.
  3. Make the vinaigrette: In a blender, puree all ingredients except oil on high speed. Slowly add oil while blender is running. Season to taste. Transfer to a container with a lid and hold in the refrigerator.
  4. Make the pickled shallots: Slice shallots into rings about 1/16-inch thick and place in a heatproof container. In a medium saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil and then pour directly over shallots to pickle. Allow to cool all the way back down to room temperature, then place a lid on the container and reserve in the fridge
  5. To assemble: In a medium sauté pan, heat blended oil and sear carrots until brown. Meanwhile, toss shaved baby carrots in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then fold in the pickled shallot rings. In a small bowl, toss cooked quinoa with peas, thyme, and basil, and shallot vinaigrette. Season to taste. On plates, spoon ricotta in a large circle in center. Place dressed quinoa over ricotta and then sprinkle puffed quinoa on top. Arrange cooked carrots around quinoa and then top with shaved carrot and pickled shallot salad. Spoon extra vinaigrette around plate and serve immediately.

From A Tale of Two Cooks.

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