Healthy and filling! Quinoa salad

Thanks to my amazing sister-in-law (Jenny, YOU ROCK!) I’ve been loving my subscription to Clean Eating Magazine.  Great recipes and ideas of how to keep my family eating well.   I tried a variation of one of the recipes last night, and it was FANTASTIC!   Easy to make and throw together, healthy and filling, this recipe has been added to the KEEP pile of recipes in my kitchen.

SIDE NOTE:

Who Knew? Digestion begins long before you put food in your mouth. According to nutrition expert Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN, our other senses, notably smell and sight, can jump-start the production of saliva and enzymes that promote better digestion. This so-called cephalic digestion—cephalic being Greek for “in the head”—explains why the appearance and aroma of food goes beyond mere aesthetics. According to Swift, attractive presentation, pleasing odors, and a relaxed mood improve digestion. So do yourself a favor and set the table with attractive dinnerware and light a candle or two.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Braised-Chicken-with-Artichokes-and-Olives-51150800#ixzz2PVtzRz6f

*****So on that note, please forgive my pictures and lack of presentation.  One day I hope to be that amazing blog with beautiful pictures of food and dishes and table settings.  But until I win the lottery and hire a photographer to follow me around (why can’t we all look like Giada when we cook?!?!), my iPhone camera will have to do for my cooking photos.  Thanks.

Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened craisins
  • 1 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • chopped green onions, about 1/3 cup (depends on how much you like green onions)

Directions:

– Cook quinoa according to package.  I used Bob’s Red Mill last night.  LOVE it!

Bob's Red Mill Quinoa

Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa

2.  While quinoa cooks, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup.   Set aside

3.  Chop you other ingredients.  You can add so many other variations to this recipe.  I used the pecans my dad hand-picked and shelled for me from East Texas.  YUMMM!  So good!  Almonds, walnuts, and others can be used, too.

lots of yummies to add to the salad!

lots of yummies to add to the salad!

4.  When the quinoa finishes cooking according to the package directions, pour the olive oil mixture and stir until quinoa is completely coated.  (if preparing this for the next day, reserve about 1/4 of the liquid and pour over salad when ready to eat.)

5.  I mixed in 1/2 of the spinach leaves and allowed them to wilt just a bit from the steam.  Also mix in the craisins and nuts and let sit for 2-3 minutes.  This allows the craisins to plump up a bit.

Mix well so that the quinoa is coated with the dressing.

Mix well so that the quinoa is coated with the dressing.

6.  Serve over a bed of spinach and enjoy!

What a great lunch!

What a great lunch!

This was great warm, and even better the next day when cold.   I added in some grilled chicken for the guys, knowing that they love to have some type of meat with their meal.  Easily that could be left out and just a vegetarian meal.
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