Colorful Quinoa Salad with Purple Cabbage, Edamame, Avocado & Easy Pickled Radishes

"Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon. 
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier
Stirs the dumb spirit; no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom. 
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation. 
Where is the summer, the unimaginable Zero summer?" 

From "Little Gidding" by T.S. Elliot

I don't want to be that person. 

That person who complains about the weather for the upteenth time this week. 

But to be truthful, this "midwinter spring" has got me down. A day of sunny 70 degree weather followed by a week of ice, freezing rain sub-zero rain, and what feels like too many personal setbacks. (It turns out my lavender earl grey tea lattes from last week were a bit prophetic) 

I'm hungering for sunshine and freedom and change and color. 

What I'm hungering for usually ends up on my plate --> this crazy colorful salad full of ingredients I don't normally like. 

As soon as I saw the picture of this salad in Plenty I knew I had to have it--even though I've never really liked radishes and had never seen purple radish cress in a store. 

I'm not even a fan of purple cabbage usually (It's the part I used to pick out of salads at restaurants) but I had to have something purple in this salad. I just had to. 

Also, it turns out that when you pickle radishes for 30 minutes with some vinegar and sugar they turn into delectable sweet crunchy components of your salad, and purple cabbage, when combined with quinoa, avocado, and smoky lemon cumin vinaigrette, morphs into something you can't get enough of. 

Salad magic. 

It even looks sort of magical, doesn't it? 

I feel like this is when I should tell you (don't hate me!) that I am going to feel the sun on my face this week.  I'm flying to Panama tomorrow. I'll be sleeping in a bunk bed in a room with 20 other people, taking cold showers, eating rice and beans every day, and sweating my life away in the 90 degree weather with no air conditioning.
I can't wait. 

I'll also be loving on some Panamanian children, helping sweet families with their legal needs, and generally experiencing life without cracking open a text book. I'm in dire need of a change of perspective and some more lightness in my heart. If all goes well, I'll be back next week, maybe with some photos. 

Thanks for your support, friends. 

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. 
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
is that which was the beginning." 

Colorful Quinoa Salad with Purple Cabbage, Edamame, Avocado & Easy Pickled Radishes

Easy Pickled Radishes
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
10-12 radishes, thinly sliced

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, and salt.

Add radishes. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Colorful Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 8oz bag frozen shelled edamame
1/2 head purple cabbage
2 ripe avocados
juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon cumin
salt and peper
easy picked radishes

Cook quinoa in vegetable broth according to package directions. Set aside to cool.  (If you're in a rush, you can stick it in the fridge.)

Cook edamame in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until just thawed.

Meanwhile, whisk together freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin. Set aside.

Chop cabbage and avocado into bite sized pieces. Add to a large bowl, along with the quinoa and edamame. Add in easy picked radishes and cumin lemon dressing and toss until evenly mixed. Serve immediately.

*A few notes

  • To make prep easier, cook quinoa and edamame a day ahead and refrigerate.
  • This salad is best eaten the day it's made. If you want it to last a few days, keep the picked radishes separate and just add to salad right before eating. 
  • The recipe makes a lot! Invite a few friends over for a midwinter spring lunch!

Easy Picked Radishes adapted from Marsha Stewart.
Salad inspired by Ottolenghi's Plenty.


  1. Have a wonderful & life-changing trip!!! Can't wait to hear about it.

  2. I hope you have a wonderful time in Panama! Wow!
    Your salad looks very lovely, too - I really love the picked radishes.

  3. Safe travels to Panama! That is so wonderful that you are offering your skills, and I hope that you have a great time too. This salad is gorgeous! I love winter radishes.

  4. Only Ottolenghi could convince me to make recipes with ingredients I don't even like...I'm not big on radishes or raw cabbage either, but I'm convinced!

    Have fun in Panama! Stay safe!

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  7. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!