03 May 2011

Marché Bastille + spring cleaning = great quinoa salad

With Luis away in Brussels for a few days, I enjoyed a lovely girls' weekend with my friend Madonna (yes, that's her real name!) who came to stay a couple of days. On the agenda: exercise, healthy eating, strolling in Montmartre and enjoying the gorgeous spring sunshine that blessed Paris over the weekend. On Sunday, we got up and went to the Marché Bastille (formerly called the Marché Richard-Lenoir), which I'd long heard about but never visited, to check out the seasonal fruits, vegetables and other goods on offer. I don't know why it took me five years to get to this market, which is actually the largest in Paris. It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! From gorgeous spring produce (artichokes, asparagus, strawberries, pineapples, etc.) to pungent cheeses to specialty breads to a variety of traiteurs (caterers) selling everything from paella to freshly-made Italian pasta to Senegalese yassa chicken to Lebanese goodies, this market is a truly a food lover's paradise.

There was temptation left and right at the Bastille market but I was pretty reasonable, picking up just some gorgeous zucchini and eggplant, basil, tomatoes, kiwis and strawberries, while Madonna scored a beautiful, ripe pineapple and a big bunch of carrots. After we got home, we embarked upon some not so fun but much needed spring cleaning of our refrigerator, which had of late gotten so full that I had no idea what was in there (yik, I know!).

Once the fridge was spic & span and we started to get hungry, I looked at some of the bits and pieces left over in there (a jar of vindaloo curry paste, some grape tomatoes, a jar of olives marinated by Luis, some feta) and the goods from the market and decided to make my favorite healthy lunch - a quinoa salad. With the tomatoes and the basil, I was originally going for a caprese salad kind of taste, but then I decided to saute the zucchini in the vindaloo paste for a little spicy Indian flavor. The salad was kind of just a big mix of this and that - inspired by the spring cleaning and the trip to the market - but it was delicious! Just like the Quick & Easy Quinoa Lunch Salad that I shared a while back, this tasted great for lunch the next day (today) as well.

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa
Nonstick cooking spray
1 shallot, minced
1 zucchini, chopped into small pieces
Dash of salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon vindaloo paste (or any other curry paste that you fancy)
Handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Handful of marinated/spicy (pitted) olives, drained (reserve the juice) and halved (try Luis's Special Spicy Olives!)
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons juice from olives

1. Cook quinoa according to the package directions. Usually you just have to rinse and drain it and add it to a pot with double its volume in water (2 cups in this case). You let it boil, then cover and simmer for about 12 minutes. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain. Put into a large salad bowl.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, saute the shallot and zucchini with nonstick cooking spray in a small pan. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Once the zucchini is tender, add the vindaloo or other curry paste and cook some more. Remove from heat and cool.

3. Toss the tomatoes, olives, basil leaves and sauteed zucchini into the quinoa and mix well. Add the feta and the olive juice and mix well again. Serve at room temperature ot cold.

Marché Bastille
Boulevard Richard Lenoir (between Rue Amelot and Rue Saint-Sabin)
75011 Paris
Metro: Bréguet-Sabin (line 5), Chemin Vert (line 8) or Bastille (lines 1, 5 and 8)
Open on Thursdays from 7:00am-2:30pm and Sundays from 7am-3pm


  1. looks delicious. Just wondering if I can make the same salad with cous cous ..

  2. Yum! Super easy and fresh. This might be my first foray into quinoa!

  3. Kankana - I think that it would be great with couscous, cracked wheat or any other similar grain.

    Gastronomic - You must foray into quinoa! I absolutely love it. Packed with protein, iron, fiber...AND it's delicious!

  4. The Bastille market looks fabulous! You are so lucky to leave nearby. LOve the look of your salad, too. Lots of gorgeous seasonal flavours. Wonderful.

  5. Love this- a great recipe using the wonder grain!
    Loved the market pics :)
    US Masala

  6. Your market posts always make me so jealous. I can't wait to get to Paris and check a few of them out.

  7. Those artichokes are stunning. My mom has an artichoke bush in her garden and I love to raid it.

    As for the quinoa salad, I just have to ask, how did you know!? I have a box of quinoa in my cupboard and wanted to make a salad along the lines of what you created. I'm using your recipe. Merci beaucoup!

  8. Gorgeous market post - I still remember when that was called the Marché Richard Lenoir ;-) I am excited to be in Paris this summer to check out some markets I have not been to and revisit old favourites. Beautiful quinoa salad - Paris was where I discovered it many many years ago before it was the "in" thing!

  9. My market... my parents live just around the corner ;-)