Quinoa Salad with Cucumbers, Chickpeas, and a Yogurt Dill Dressing

April Swiger

Hi, I’m April Swiger, wife to my best friend, and worship-pastor, Adam. We are hopeful adoptive parents waiting to bring home children from foster care. We live in Connecticut, less than an hour from where I grew up. As a native New Englander, I was brought up on delicious meals by my mother who values the art of cooking. Her guidance instilled in me foundational skills, and confidence in the kitchen from a very young age.

After graduating from James Madison University I spent six years in campus ministry, including a year in East Asia. As a result, my cooking has been greatly influenced by Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. You can bet that I fully indulged in many traditional, and unique, Asian dishes that year!/div>

I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with simple, nourishing recipes, while strategically keeping to our tight ministry budget. On any given day you’ll find my crockpot bubbling with rich bone broth, mason jars full of coconut oil in the cabinet, and beans or grains soaking on the radiator. When I’m not caring for my husband and our home, you can find me reading, writing, blogging at Redemptive Homemaking, making my own beauty products, and researching new skills like gardening and lacto-fermentation. Whether it’s marriage, homemaking, or serving in our local church, I am first and foremost a follower of King Jesus, and my aim is to glorify Him with all that I do. 

Quinoa salad yogurt dill dressing

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

This quinoa salad has the unmistakable taste of fresh dill, tangy yogurt, and refreshing lemon and cucumber. Quinoa is gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and fills you up without ill effects when prepared properly. When soaked with a little raw apple cider vinegar, it’s easy to digest, and can be used in countless recipes ranging from breakfast porridges to summer salads.

Cucumbers have been on sale at my little local market the past two weeks and I’ve been itching to add them to a creamy yogurt based salad. As spring has finally sprung, I’m eager to begin making hearty and nourishing salads again for the warmer months. I love the idea of a filling side dish that can easily transfer over to a simple main dish. With the addition of chickpeas to this salad, it can be both!

Quinoa is a grain-like seed (from the same family as beets and spinach) and benefits from a long soak like other grains and legumes to reduce anti nutrients. There is a distinct bitter taste to quinoa which can be reduced significantly through soaking, and a thorough rinse before cooking. I have found that as I plan my meals for the week, adding an alert to my phone to “soak quinoa” the day before I need it has proved to be an easy way to incorporate this traditional practice into my routine.

quinoa salad yogurt dill dressing2

I love the addition of a creamy and tangy dressing to this salad! It’s reminiscent of a Greek tzatziki sauce but with the delicious taste of fresh dill. I used a Russian kefir yogurt for this recipe, but any plain, full-fat yogurt will work just fine. A whisk works great to blend all the ingredients together.

If you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, you can easily adapt this recipe with different dressings and vegetables that are available to you. Kimi has shared a fantastic list of nourishing salad dressings that are very simple to make and can be substituted in this recipe. Along with that her cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons, includes more salad dressing recipes and a couple of quinoa salads as well. Her summer quinoa salad is one of my favorites!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Quinoa salad with cucumbers, chickpeas, and a yogurt dill dressing
Recipe type: Side, or main dish

This tangy quinoa salad could serve 8-10 people as a side dish, or 4-6 as a nourishing main dish
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 cups warm filtered water for soaking
  • 2 tbls raw apple cider vinegar (you can also use yogurt, kombucha, whey or kefir)
  • 2 cups filtered water for cooking
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled if desired, and cubed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1½-2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15 oz can)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 2 tbls fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. The night before you make this dish, plan to soak your quinoa to make it more digestible. Place the quinoa in a non-reactive bowl or jar (preferably glass), and mix it with the warm filtered water and your raw ACV. Allow it to soak for at least 8 hours, and up to 24.
  2. When you’re ready to make the salad, drain and rinse your quinoa in a fine sieve, allowing the water to run clear.
  3. Place your rinsed quinoa in a pot with 2 more cups of water and bring it to a boil.
  4. When it’s boiling, cover the pot, and turn the heat to low, allowing it to simmer for 12-15 minutes. (These instructions are the same as Kimi’s basic quinoa recipe and work for the various brands of quinoa that I’ve tried).
  5. When the quinoa is done, place it in a bowl to cool. You can leave it on the counter, or put it in the refrigerator.
  6. In the meantime, assemble your dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic cloves, fresh dill and salt and pepper.
  7. When the quinoa has cooled, gently mix in the cucumber, red onion and chickpeas.
  8. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture (you may not need it all), and mix thoroughly.
  9. This salad is best served at room temperature after preparing it, or lightly chilled. Top with additional dill, feta cheese, olives, or tomatoes if desired!


Pan-seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon (& review of The Nourished Kitchen cookbook)


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

pan-seared halibut with melted cherry tomatoes and tarragon

Tender and moist, halibut is cooked quickly on the stovetop and then graced with the bright flavors of bite-sized tomatoes, gently cooked into a simple, yet flavorful sauce. This is a perfect example of the simple, delicious food that Jenny from Nourished Kitchen produces time and time again.

And that’s why I am thrilled to share this beautiful recipe from her incredible new cookbook (amazon affiliate link), The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle. This book is a real gem. Truly. Each section helps you know how to serve food from the sea, pasture, garden, field, wild, orchard, range, and larder. It’s real food at its best.

What I love about Jenny’s recipes is that they allow the true flavors of the food to shine. Her writing style is warm, reassuring and poetic, and her photos do justice to the natural beauty of the food without trying to manipulate food into something it is not (can you tell I’m a fan?). The section this recipe comes out of (from the waters) has a variety of dishes I am drooling over and can’t wait to try. This includes Salt-Roasted Clams with Garlic Butter, Whole Mackerel Roasted on Potatoes, and Grilled Sardines with Preserved Lemon Gremolata. Dr, Weston A Price was impressed with the health a seafood-centric traditional diet produced, and we know that there are a variety of nutritional benefits to eating seafood on a regular basis. Jenny’s recipes will certainly help get it on your table.

Nourished kitchen

Special Pre-Order Bonuses

I was lucky enough to get a preview copy, but you can pre-order her book right now! As a cookbook author, let me say this: It really helps authors out when you pre-order, so if you are planning on ordering it, do it now. If you do, you can also email your receipt to nourishedkitchen@tenspeed.com,  no later than April 15 at midnight pacific time, and you will get special access to the cookbook’s membership portal which includes instructional videos, menu ideas, a few sneak peek recipes from the book as well as an exclusive look at recipes that they did not include in the book due to space constraints.


Jenny’s also doing giveaways to promote her book as well, so if you want the chance to win some great things, check it out. 

Virtual Dinner Party

This recipe is part of the virtual dinner party we bloggers are doing in celebration of Jenny’s book. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the beautiful recipes in the book before you buy. Here’s the schedule:

• April 6: Chapter 1: Diana @ My Humble Kitchen
• April 7: Chapter 2: Kresha @ Nourishing Joy
• April 8: Chapter 3: Jill @ The Prairie Homestead
• April 9: Chapter 4: Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet (that’s me!)
• April 10: Chapter 5: DaNelle @ Weed ‘Em and Reap
• April 11: Chapter 6: Aubrey @ Home Grown and Healthy
• April 12: Chapter 7: Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship
• April 13: Chapter 8: Tamara and Kelly @ Oh Lardy

And without further ado, here’s this lovely recipe.

Pan-seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon
Serves: 4

During the first few weeks of summer, tomatoes trickle slowly into the farmers market, a few baskets at a time. Such a short supply after months of cold-weather crops like roots and greens means those first few tomatoes command hefty prices and seem to disappear the instant the market opens. So I wait to purchase tomatoes until late summer, when their newness wears off and baskets at the market overflow with a seemingly continuous supply of marble-sized cherry tomatoes or even the heftier golden Amana tomatoes that can weigh 2 or 3 pounds each. The price of tomatoes falls as the supply increases, and I buy them by the case. I call on close friends and we preserve as much as we can, but I also serve them with nearly every meal—a few dropped into an omelet, roasted with fennel for soup, tossed with greens for salad, and, frequently, as a simple sauce for fish or meat. While creamy white-fleshed fish like halibut pair beautifully with mild flavors, buttery sauces, and a very light introduction of lemon or fresh herbs, they also marry well with more robust and assertive flavors like tomato. I reserve this dish for late in the summer, when bright, ripe cherry tomatoes are both inexpensive and abundant. Once they hit the hot pan, they nearly melt and their flavorful juices concentrate in the heat, becoming syrupy and thick. I like to throw in a handful of tarragon at the very end, though both basil and flat-leaf parsley also work well.
  • 4 (4- to 6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground unrefined sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (page 59, of book, see below)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  1. Sprinkle the halibut with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the fillets on a plate and let them rest a bit while you prepare to cook the fish.
  2. Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, arrange the halibut skin side down in the hot fat and sear for 4 or 5 minutes, until the skin crisps and browns. Flip the fish and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it flakes easily when pierced by a fork. Transfer the halibut to a serving plate and tent it with parchment paper or foil to keep it warm.
  3. To prepare the tomatoes, set the skillet you used to cook the fish over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Toss in the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and translucent, about 6 minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and sauté them with the shallot and garlic until they soften and release their juice, about 2 minutes. Add the tarragon and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Uncover the waiting halibut. Spoon the melted cherry tomato mixture over the fish and serve immediately.
Clarified Butter

Clarifying butter deepens its flavor and color and concentrates its butterfat by removing its milk solids. The process also helps to extend its shelf life. Store clarified butter at room temperature out of direct light, just as you would store olive oil, coconut oil, or any other concentrated fat. Once you’ve removed the milk solids from the butterfat, there’s little risk of spoilage.You can apply high heat to clarified butter in ways that would cause regular butter to scorch. Makes about 12 ounces.
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  1. Place the butter in a wide sauté pan set over low heat. Allow the butter to melt slowly. As it heats, froth and foam will gather on top of the liquid butter. Skim this off and discard it. Continue heating the butter until it becomes perfectly clear, about 10 minutes.
  2. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. Pour the melted butter through the cloth and into the bowl. Discard the milk solids in the cloth, then pour the clarified butter into three 4-ounce jars or one 12-ounce jar and cover tightly. Stored in a cool, dark space, the clarified butter will keep for up to 1 year.

Reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther, (c) 2014.
Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer McGruther
Publisher retains all copyrights and the right to require immediate removal of this excerpt for copyright or other business reasons.

Sriracha-Lime Salmon One-Pot Meal + Seafood FAQs

Alison Diven

A born and bred foodie, Alison is probably thinking about her next meal right. now.Her early interest in nutrition and eating spectacular food went alternative when her health collapsed in college, and she discovered—for the first time—real, nourishing food. She’s never looked back.

Recent transplants to New Mexico, Alison and her husband and son are embracing their new, enchanted landscape (the light! the mesas! the sunsets!) and celebrating their many opportunities for local, sustainable eating in the Four Corners region.

Alison shares the fruit of her 10-year healing quest at Alison’s List, a resource for whole-person healing and enrichment—body, mind, and spirit. Find her at Alison's List and her Facebook page. 

Sriracha-Lime Salmon One-Pot Meal + Seafood FAQs

By Alison Diven, Contributing Writer

Think fish is bland? Tricky? Nah. If you like easy food with flair, get a load of this: Sriracha. Lime. Ginger. Tamari. This one-pot, 30-minute salmon dinner is like a kick in the mouth. The good kind, of course. Everyone from my toddler to my picky foodie father loves this recipe!

I developed this recipe as part of my own family’s quest to eat more seafood. I’m sure you’ve seen information about anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, found in high concentrations in seafood, and the need to balance omega-3 and omega-6 ratios. For a while, I took high-dose EPA-DHA fish oils, but these days, I’m mostly seeking the full nutritional package by eating the whole food. Seafood-eating people groups have long boasted exceptional health, and even Weston A. Price was impressed with traditional diets in costal regions. It’s not just about the omega-3s either. There’s also selenium, zinc, iodine, and who knows what else we haven’t yet identified. (For the record, I do still take fermented cod liver oil for the concentrated vitamin A and vitamin D.)

So, with a new family goal of two seafood dinners per week, plus leftovers for lunch the next day, I’ve been on the hunt for more recipes! One night I stumbled upon a one-pot salmon dinner from RealSimple.com. It was fabulous and easy, but after a couple of repetitions, I craved variety. That’s when this recipe was born. I recycled the cooking method but did a total flavor makeover, combining my favorite pho condiment, sriracha, which seems to be quite the trend these days, with other punchy ingredients like lime, ginger, and cilantro. A little coconut milk in the rice plus extra sugar snap peas beefed up the nutrition too.

But before we get to the recipe, maybe you have questions about seafood, especially its safety and affordability. Let’s take a quick look at the most common ones.

Isn’t seafood high in poisonous mercury these days?

You’ll see two main camps on this issue. One side says mercury in seafood is dangerous, period. The other side says not necessarily. They argue that selenium protects against mercury absorption, so as long as the fish you eat has more selenium than mercury (and most do), you’re golden. Chris Kresser is among the latter group and published a thorough, thought-provoking article on the topic here. I myself find the selenium argument persuasive, but just to be safe, I still mostly choose fish very low on the mercury scale. Here’s a useful chart for selecting low-mercury fish yourself.

What about PCBs and dioxins?

Again, I’ll reference Chris Kresser’s article. While PCBs and dioxins, both industrial waste toxins, are a health concern, seafood seems to be the least of our worries in exposure to them. Meat, dairy, and vegetables all far outpace fish. Unfortunately, we live in a polluted world, land and sea. Since not eating isn’t an option, I’m just make the best choices I can. For me, that includes fish.

But seriously now, what about radiation from Fukushima?

This one gives me real pause, largely because it’s hard to find solid information. On one hand is the contingent preaching certain death and disaster, and on the other the government party line on perfect safety. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between.  (If you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about, “Fukushima” refers to the Japanese nuclear power plant meltdown following March 2011’s tsunami. Read more here. Basically, people are concerned about radioactive particles in seafood . . . plus a host of environmental consequences.) Many health conscious people have stopped eating Pacific seafood entirely, while others are selective. The Healthy Home Economist recently shared her sobering research on Pacific tuna (if you follow the Nourishing Gourmet on Facebook, you’ve already seen this one!), and here’s a recent article on the kind of testing on seafood and kelp that’s underway these days. All I can say is do your own research. We’re ditching Pacific tuna in my house, not that we ate much anyway, and sticking to Alaskan salmon, sardines, and Atlantic wild catches. I think the benefits of careful seafood consumption still outweigh the risks.

Seafood is expensive! How can I afford it?

You’re in luck here because Kimberly has already written a great article on this topic, 6 Tips for Eating Seafood on a Budget. Tip #6, use frozen and canned, is especially useful in my home because we live in landlocked New Mexico. Wild-caught frozen salmon from Costco, wild-caught canned salmon from our Azure Standard co-op, and wild-caught sardines are mainstays for us.

Is farmed seafood ever okay?

I always thought the answer was “no,” but in reading up for this article, I discovered I was wrong. Mark Sisson summarizes some healthy farmed options here, like shellfish (except from Asia), tank-farmed fresh water Coho salmon, and US trout. Who knew?

Am I supposed to eat the skin?

I was always confused about this growing up. The answer is YES, as long as you’re eating top-quality fish, please eat the skin. It’s full of healthy fats, different proteins from the flesh, and well, it’s a part of the animal that people have been eating forever. Talk about a traditional food! If it’s a little soggy from your preparation method, take it off the fish and set it aside. Later, crisp it up on the stove or in the oven, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy.

So, are you ready to dive in? Try it out this addictive recipe next time you need a nourishing meal fast. You’re gonna love it!

Sriracha-Lime Salmon One-Pot Meal with Rice & Snap Peas
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Serves: 4

Punchy and spicy, here’s one flavor combination you won’t soon forget! And at only 30 minutes start to finish–prep time happens alongside cooking–with time to spare for setting the table, you’ll love the convenience too. If you prefer to eat brown rice, you can try adding more cooking time at the beginning.
  • 1 cup medium grain fragrant white rice, like basmati or jasmine
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (preferably BPA- and gum-free, like Natural Value)
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • 4 wild-caught salmon fillets, 4-6 oz each (frozen works well)
  • salt & black pepper
  • 10 oz sugar fresh sugar snap peas (or snow peas, green beans, or broccoli florets)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (1-2) limes
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha (I especially like Organicville because it’s additive-free and extra delicious)
  • 4 Tbsp tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (I use a microplane like this one)
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro
  1. Put the rice, coconut milk, and water in a large skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, season the salmon fillets generously with salt and pepper, and prep sauce ingredients. Juice the limes, grate the ginger, slice the green onions, and wash and chop the cilantro.
  3. After the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, stir it quickly and then place the salmon fillets on top. Replace the lid and cook for another 7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, assemble your sauce by combining the lime juice, sriracha, tamari, ginger, green onions, and cilantro–reserving a small amount of green onions and cilantro for garnish.
  5. Add the sugar snap peas to the skillet and replace lid, cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the snap peas are bright green and the salmon cooked through.
  6. Pour the sauce over all the ingredients and serve family style. Or, for a nicer presentation, remove the salmon and add the sauce just to the rice. Stir to combine and pile rice on individual plates, topped by a salmon fillet, and garnished with the reserved green onions and cilantro.


Even More Nourishing Seafood Recipes

Want more inspiration? Don’t miss these other healthy recipes at The Nourishing Gourmet:
Fresh Herb & Clam Sauce over Pasta
Broiled Black Cod Salad with Blackberry Dressing
Sardine Salad with Toast
Salmon with Basil Romesco Sauce
Crispy Fish Cakes with Double Mustard

And here are a few of my personal favorites from around the web:
Salmon Fish Stew, Brazilian Style from Simply Recipes
Sherried Sardine Toast by Alton Brown
Dad’s [White] Fish Stew from Simply Recipes
Shrimp, Pea & Rice Stew from Oprah.com

What are your favorites? I’m always looking for ideas!

Easy Thai Curry Noodle Soup

Katie Mae

Katie Stanley is a dorm “mama” to 12 amazing girls ages 8 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She and her “hijas” can be frequently found in the kitchen, the garden or making friends with their new chickens. She loves to read, hike the hills near her home and spend time with her girls. In her spare time Katie blogs at Nourishing Simplicity about nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living, the deaf, raising her girls and encouraging other women in their walk with Christ.

Latest posts by Katie Mae (see all)

Thai Curry Noodle Soup

By Katie Mae Stanley, Contributing Writer

Light and flavorful, this simple Thai curry noodle soup will warm you on a cool evening. It is a perfect, frugal meal to throw together when you are short on time and is bursting with flavor.

Using homemade chicken stock adds an extra boost of nutrition to this tasty soup. Fresh stock is a frugal and easy way to nourish your family. Coconut milk not only makes your dish creamy and decadent is bursting with nutrition as well.

(Post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for supporting this blog!) 

When buying coconut milk it is important as part of a real foods diet to know what is in your milk. Many brands contain carrageenan, sugar and other preservatives. There are a few suitable options out there. Native Forest, is an excellent brand that is organic and BPA free. Another good brand is Thai Kitchen, which is not BPA free but the company claims that their product is “BPA safe”. Thai Kitchen is more creamy and has always been my favorite brand. And check out this brand, and this one, for guar gum-free coconut milk.

Thai is one of my favorite cuisines, there is no denying that. There is few thing less satisfying for me than creating ethnic dishes at home. When you use your own ingredients you can know that your food will be free of unhealthy oils, sugars and preservatives that are frequently found when dinning out.

Homemade Thai Inspired Recipes:

Thai Curry Noodle Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4-6

Light and flavorful, this simple Thai curry noodle soup will warm you on a cool evening. It is a perfect meal to throw together when you are short on time and is bursting with flavor.
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 16 oz vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 lb chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ lb fresh sugar snap peas
  • 2 tsp thai red curry, or curry paste of choice (I use this one)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch of lemon grass, split
  • optional garnishes
  • Fresh basil (Thai is preferred)
  • Fresh spearmint leaves
  • Fresh cilantro
  1. In a large sauce-pot add the coconut milk, curry paste, lemon grass, garlic and ginger. Cook on low for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onions cook for another five minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth and add the chicken and sugar snap peas. Simmer for about 5 minutes for until the chicken is cook through.
  4. Add the rice noodles, turn off the heat and cover until the noodles are softened.
  5. Garnish with thai basil, spearmint leaves and cilantro if desired.