Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas in Maple Vinaigrette dressing!!

After reading many articles in my husbands running and triathlete magazines about the health benefits of Quinoa (KEEN-wha) I decided to find some tried and true recipes.  This recipe caught my eye over at the gluten free goddess blog and it has become one of our favorites. Not only is this an excellent salad on it's own, it also makes a great side dish.

 I just love all the colors in this salad!


If you haven't tried Quinoa it really is delicious and can be substituted for any grain recipe you may already have.

First you'll need to make the quinoa:

1 cup organic quinoaSea salt

Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

For the salad you'll need:

2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained (this is how I sneak the veggies in to my diet)
1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces (or apple)
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste


For the Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. golden balsamic vinegar (I used regular balsamic)
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
( I added a little dijon mustard as well)

Whisk together.

Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the quinoa and fluff. Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.

Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.
Note: If you are making this salad ahead of time, I suggest you make the quinoa, fluff, and add the dressing while it is warm. When it cools to room temperature, add in the spinach, chick peas and parsley; toss, cover and chill. Before serving add the pears, and toasted pecans. Taste test and add more seasoning if needed (I tend to like a lot of dressing so I also add it to my individual bowl).

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