If you’re bored with traditional salads, give our Summer Quinoa Salad a try! This salad is flavor-packed, nutritious, and delicious! This salad is full of fiber, protein, and nourishing fats guaranteed to keep you satisfied for hours.
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Here’s why we’re loving our Summer Quinoa Salad
- This crisp and crunchy salad is our go-to for the summer. We love it for it’s immune-boosting and bone-building properties. The fresh strawberries and clementines are a rich source of vitamin C while the beans and goat cheese provide much of your daily calcium requirement.
- This recipe provides a rainbow of color indicating a variety of phytonutrients, known to promote health by protecting our bodies. Each color pigment contains a different antioxidant providing a different benefit. For instance, the green pigment in spinach is a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, known to keep blood cells healthy and bones and teeth strong.
- This salad provides a balanced blend of carbohydrates for energy, healthy fats for focus and blood sugar regulation, and protein for hormonal balance and muscle building. You can enjoy this salad as a main dish for a vegetarian meal, or use it as a side and add another source of protein such as grilled chicken or roasted salmon.
- This refreshing and nutrient-packed salad is easy to prepare ahead of time.
- The recipe makes three servings so it can be used for a family meal or stored for a quick grab and go leftovers. If you need more servings, this recipe is easy to double!
- We love the Primal Kitchen balsamic vinaigrette for a sugar-free, clean ingredient list. You can also toss with olive oil and whatever vinegar you have on hand (i.e. red wine, apple cider, white distilled) for an easy swap.
Health benefits of quinoa
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain (well technically it is a seed) but we prepare it like a grain.
Quinoa is unique in that it contains all of the necessary amino acids to make up a complete vegetarian source of protein.
It is also rich in fiber so it’s a good choice for helping to create bulkier stool if you suffer from loose stools or diarrhea.
Here are a few things you should know about preparing quinoa:
- Quinoa has quite a bit of phytic acid, which is deemed an anti-nutrient. This is because it can bind to other necessary nutrients like zinc and iron and make it difficult for the body to absorb them.
- Using the proper preparation method can reduce the phytates and make quinoa more tolerated by the body.
- To reduce phytic acid content, you can soak quinoa for 12-14 hours before cooking, adding apple cider vinegar to the water while soaking will ferment the quinoa which reduces the phytic acid content even further.
- Recipes using quinoa usually recommending rinsing quinoa before cooking. This helps reduce the saponin content of the quinoa.
- Saponins are a naturally occurring coating that covers quinoa seeds. When cooked, saponins give quinoa a bitter taste if the quinoa hasn’t been rinsed.
- You can skip rinsing your quinoa if it comes pre-rinsed or if you presoak your quinoa 12-14 hours before cooking.
- To add more flavor to your quinoa, try swapping some of the water used in cooking with an herbal tea. Quinoa infused with mint tea would be the perfect flavor for this salad. You can also swap bone broth for the water to increase the nutrient density of the quinoa while not altering the taste.
How to enjoy Summer Quinoa Salad
- This refreshing side salad is the perfect choice to take to a cookout or to pair at home for lunch or dinner with chicken fresh off of the grill!
- Dairy-free? Substitute diced avocado for the goat cheese (be sure to add right before eating since avocado will turn brown when exposed to air for long periods of time)!
- No black beans in your pantry? Toss in whatever beans you have on hand! If beans don’t work for you – skip them completely!
- Prepare ahead of time by cooking the quinoa beforehand and storing it in the refrigerator – since it will already be cooked & cooled you’ll just need to throw the rest of the salad together.
Summer Quinoa Salad
- saucepan lid
- Cutting board
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup quinoa cooked
- 1/3 cup black beans cooked
- 2/3 cup strawberries sliced
- 1 clementine peeled and separated 2
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup walnuts chopped
- 2 Tbsp goat cheese crumbled
- Start by cooking the quinoa:1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water + dash of salt.Note: This will make 2 cups of cooked quinoa (1/2 cup for the recipe and 1½ cups for leftovers). Combine uncooked quinoa with water and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil for a few minutes and then reduce heat to the low setting so that the mixture is simmering. Cook uncovered maintaining a simmer for 15-20 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed. Once all of the water has been absorbed, remove the saucepan from heat and cover for five minutes to steam the quinoa. Take off the lid and use a fork to lightly stir the quinoa.
- Store the cooked quinoa in the refrigerator for at least an hour before adding to the salad. Optional: make the quinoa a day or two ahead of time)
- Add the cooled quinoa, black beans, sliced strawberries, clementine pieces and baby spinach together. Top with chopped walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette right before serving.
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Thanks Jenny, the recipe sounds great!