Spinach and Lemon Quinoa Salad: A refreshing and light quinoa salad served over spinach with a fresh lemon dressing. This simple dish is the perfect lunch, meatless entree, or compliment to grilled meat. Vegan. Gluten-Free.
Hello Spring! My fingers are crossed that warmer weather is here to stay!
And when welcoming in the warmth and sunshine into my life, my cravings changes from warming soups and comforting casseroles to light and fresh salads and pastas.
However, I still need my protein–with the sun shining and warmer temps, my family is out and about. Whether it is on a hike, a long neighborhood walk, a run around the park, or shooting hoops.
Needless to say, I need quick, filling options to power me through my day and to get me back out into the sunshine (or back to work–but you know which one I am hoping for!)
This quinoa salad comes together in less about 30 minutes, is versatile enough to use whatever produce I have on hand, and is packed full of the nutrients and protein my body needs. If I am REALLY thinking, which I try to do but fail at more times than I would care to mention, I make enough for me to nosh on for lunch all week long. Then whenever I have a few moments, SUNSHINE here I come!
Lemon Quinoa Salad
First, let’s say Quiona: kinwa. Now, don’t you feel like you have taken a trip to Central America? No, well, maybe my imagination is a bit more inventive 🙂
Now, get some water or vegetable broth and seasonings that you like–in my case this is garlic and oregano and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Throw in some quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until quinoa has absorbed the liquid. I threw in some green beans into my quinoa because I had them on hand and it sounded good to me–asparagus would be great as well.
Once the quinoa was cooked, I tossed it with fresh spinach. Feel free to use any lettuce you have lying around. Personally, I like the way spinach wilts when tossed with a warm grain.
Then I added some diced cucumbers and roasted red peppers, because that is what I had and I knew it would compliment the spinach and lemon well. Feel free to use fresh peppers, olives, or cherry tomatoes.
Finally, I drizzled a fresh dressing made with lemon juice, lemon zest, capers and olive oil. And a simple dish is transformed into a watering masterpiece–well, at least something I am ALWAYS happy to be eating!
Here is my old picture–I have updated them recently!
Like I said this dish is EASY and versatile–because that is how I like to roll. It is also a filled with superfoods, like this Super Food Salad, from Go Dairy Free.
Tips on Spinach Quinoa Salad:
- This salad is great as it sits. I will make it the day before a party or while I am prepping meals for the week to have on hand for quick lunches.
- As I mentoned, I love spinach in this fresh spring salad, but argula also works well.
- Feel free to use rice instead of quinoa, the flavors will be just as good–just call it Spinach Lemon Rice Salad 😉
- If you like really spicy foods, increase the red pepper flakes to 1/2 teaspoon.
- If the texture of capers is off-putting to you, throw them in the blender with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth and then toss with the remaining ingredients in the salad. This will give you amazing flavor without biting into a whole caper.
Spinach and Lemon Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups vegetable broth chicken stock, or water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 2 cups fresh green beans trimmed into 2 inch pieces
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 English cucumber diced into half moons
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers diced
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Bring stock, quinoa, green beans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed liquid. Allow quinoa to cool slightly for about 5 minutes, if desired.
Place spinach in large bowl and toss with cooked quinoa, mixing together allowing spinach to wilt slightly.
Add in cucumbers and peppers and toss.
In small bowl, combine the juice and zest of a lemon with 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, capers, and olive oil. Pour over quinoa and toss together.
Eat immediately or chill for later consumption.
And now tell me, what sort of food do you crave when warmer weather hits?