Spring Quinoa Salad

ysm quinoaQuinoa is really one of the most well known super foods that we have come across in quite some time. It is a great grain to add to your diet not only because it is full of protein, but it also is low in fat. One of my favorite things about quinoa is that it is incredibly versatile when it comes to flavors. You can make it to match any flavor profile easily, so the possibilities are just endless.

Quinoa has also been show to aid in the prevention of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the process of aging and the effects on your eyes as you get older too, but a change in diet can prevent that from occurring. Quinoa falls low on the spectrum of foods and their glycemic indexes. Quinoa is also full of vitamin E, zinc and niacin. These nutrients are also very beneficial to the eyes as well. Changing out from the standard carbohydrates such as pasta and white rice to quinoa or whole grain oats will help you achieve the maximum nutrients and benefits of eating on the lower glycemic index.

I really love quinoa in a salad because it adds a lot of texture without eating a huge pile of straight grains. It beautifully sticks to your ingredients, and adds that extra punch of protein that will keep you feeling full and enjoying the benefits all day long. I really think this is a great way to introduce quinoa to people who may have not tried it before.

 

Spring Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa, any color
  • 1 large onion, diced very small
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large sprig of thyme
  • Mixed greens (spinach, arugula, etc.)
  • 1 red onion, sliced very thin
  • Mandarin orange segments
  • Pistachios
  • Feta cheese
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ½  tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa by cooking the diced onion in a large pot with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Cook until tender and translucent. Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf and thyme to ensure your quinoa is flavorful.
  3. Cover with water and boil like pasta until grain blooms and white spindle “blooms” out of grain. Drain quinoa and set aside. Remove herbs and spices.
  4. Make vinaigrette by bringing vinegar, mustard, honey and oil together with a whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. You may use any vinegar you like most. I find white balsamic to be very easy to enjoy.
  5. Toss salad with all ingredients in a large bowl to ensure that everything is incorporated and dressed evenly.
  6. Serve Immediately

*If you are taking the salad to lunch at work keep vinaigrette on the side so your greens remain crisp.

**This is a great salad that can be changed through the seasons with fresh and seasonal produce. The possibilities are endless.