Recipes, Savory

April 3, 2018

Citrus Quinoa Salad

This gorgeous spring weather has me craving all sorts of fresh and bright flavors. After a weekend filled with entertaining, I’m keeping dinner simple this week with giant, fresh salads. Another plus, after one too many chocolate bunnies this is a tasty way to hit “reset”. I tossed protein packed quinoa, spinach, blood oranges, creamy avocado, pomegranate, and crunchy hazelnuts in a homemade citrus vinaigrette that is as healthy as it is delicious. This dish comes together in under 40 minutes and it’s an ideal vegan salad when you’re tight for time.

Unless you’re living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve all heard about quinoa by now, but perhaps you’re unaware of the many nutritional benefits of this tiny little seed. It’s high in protein and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties, which is likely why it sustained people in South America’s Andes mountains (where quinoa grows best) for so long. Quinoa has a mild, slightly vegetal flavor and cooks up fluffy, like couscous, but is still slightly crunchy. It’s extremely versatile, and makes a great base for all sorts of salads. Needless to say, I use it often.

Filled with fresh fruit, and vegetables this salad is a wonderful detox from all of that sugar we’ve probably indulged in this past week or so. This is one of those salads that you can easily add what you like, and subtract what you don’t. If you can’t find blood oranges, don’t panic. Your traditional orange, or even grapefruit will pair wonderfully too. Same with all of the other ingredients, you don’t have to follow this recipe exactly for it to turn out great. That is really the true beauty of this fruit/veggie/grain packed bowl.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 Teaspoon sea salt

2 blood oranges, peeled

2 avocados

1½ cups pomegranate arils

1/2 cup hazelnuts

4 cups spinach

Cilantro Orange Dressing:

½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro

1 orange, peeled

Olive oil to taste

 

Ingredients:

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, then place it in a medium sauce pan. Add the water and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until tender and fluffy, about 20 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before combining it with the rest of the salad.
  2. Break the oranges into sections and slice the sections crosswise into bite sized pieces.
  3. Peel, pit, and cut the avocado into bite sized pieces as well.
  4. For the dressing, break the orange up into sections and place it in a blender. Add the cilantro and blend on low to medium until well combined with small pieces of cilantro remaining. Slowly add in a bit of olive oil to taste.
  5. Combine the citrus, avocado, pomegranate arils, hazelnuts, spinach, and quinoa in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and mix to combine.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. If you’re keeping the salad for more than just one day, add the avocado as needed.

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