Quinoa Panzanella with Wild Salmon & Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

If you are a glutton for food, like me, you can imagine my excitement when the mailman delivers my monthly Cooking Light magazine. Like a child who has to go to the bathroom while playing a game, I wiggle and dance by my mail box scouring through its pages to find an amazing recipe. “Sit down and relax,” I tell myself. “No”, I argue back.

If you follow my posts, you will know that I love cooking healthy and vibrant meals. Cooking Light has never failed me. I tend to use the bones of the recipe to guide my creation of something new and exciting. This Quinoa Panzanella with Wild Salmon dish was featured in the June 2015 Summer Cookbook Issue under the Trending Tastes column. The chef, Tim Cebula, wanted to take a traditional Italian summer salad and make it healthy. “Way to go Timothy, I’m with you!” After some extensive research on Wikipedia (smirk), I found that Panzanella is a Tuscan salad of soaked stale bread and tomatoes. Chef Cebula substituted the bread for Quinoa, which is a unique twist. However, I added my own flare and introduced a Honey Dijon Vinaigrette to dress this salad to the nines. Together, we made a divine supper.

The sweet and tangy Honey Dijon Vinaigrette pairs exceptionally with the fresh salmon, briny capers, bold red onions, succulent tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. Topping this salad with sweet basil, seals it as a summer classic.

A Light and Fresh Summer Supper
A Light and Fresh Summer Supper

This weekend my husband and I helped my mom clean out my Grandma’s home. On March 30th, Grandma passed away at the age of 93. It was tragic for our whole family. Take a moment to read my post about her and her famous Italian Chicken Soup (click to read). After spending the weekend lifting boxes, I took some time to collect some mementos from her kitchen. In the photo above you will see Grandma’s lemon juicer labeled “Italy”, salmon colored napkin and copper tinted pitcher. It brings me joy to use her items in my food photography.



  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • pinch of salt


  •  2 salmon fillets, skin-on
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced and halved
  • 1/2 red onion, diced or sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced or whole
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried or fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring quinoa, broth and salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Turn down heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. When done, fluff with a fork and let cool.
  2. Whisk together all Honey Dijon Vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Salt to taste.
  3. Season salmon with salt, pepper and dill. Heat olive oil in medium skillet on medium heat. Add fillets skin side down. Cook 4 minutes until skin begins to brown, turn fillet over and cook for 2 more minutes or until desired doneness.
  4. Flake the fish with two forks, keep skin on if you desire.
  5. Combine fish with all Salad ingredients, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Toss in Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
Serves 2