Recipe | Spring Quinoa Salad + Watercress Pesto adapted from Aran Goyoaga

We had the pleasure of hosting a Food Photography + Styling Workshop this past weekend with our friend Aran Goyoaga. We adapted the delicious Spring Quinoa Salad recipe from her cookbook Small Plates + Sweet Treats to include one of our favorite seasonal vegetables, ramps.

Spring Quinoa Salad

hazelnut and watercress pesto

Serves 6


For the Pesto


1/4 cup (30 g) hazelnuts

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups (40 g) watercress

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil


Place the hazelnuts in a dry skillet and toast them over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer them to a dry kitchen towel and rub them together to remove the skin.

Combine the garlic and hazelnuts in a food processor and process to a fine powder. Add the watercress, Parmesan, and salt and continue processing. Add the olive oil in a steady stream while the machine is running until it comes together into a creamy paste.

The pesto may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.


For the Salad


1 bunch of baby carrots, peeled and stems removed (leaving 1-inch top)

6 tablespoons olive oil olive oil

1 tablespoon harissa

2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock or water


1 cup (175 g) quinoa, rinsed

1 bunch of ramps, rinsed

2 ounces (60 g) feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup (15 g) fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Baby red watercress

1 medium watermelon radish, finely shaved



Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of olive oil,  harissa and large pinch of salt. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and roast until tender for 25 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes. The quinoa will absorb all the water. Transfer to a large bowl to cool and fluff using a fork.

Meanwhile, trim the roots from the rinsed ramps before tossing with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and roast until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the feta, mint, hazelnuts, lemon zest, 1/4 cup olive oil and black pepper to the quinoa and toss. Top with roasted carrots, baby red watercress, roasted ramps and shaved radish.


Recipe | adapted from Small Plates + Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga

Photo + Styling | Karen Mordechai