During the school year, our family life gets a little hectic….maybe you can relate. It goes something like this: wake up, get everyone showered and dressed, prepare breakfast and coffee, eat and chat, pack lunches, drop child off at school, head to work, sit through a series of meetings, eat lunch, focus on tasks and projects, sit through a few more meetings, tidy office, leave work, pick child up from school, make dinner with husband and enjoy a glass of wine, sit down to eat and debrief the day, put child to bed, enjoy a fire in the back yard, read a book, brush teeth, head to bed, lights out….whew!
To ensure that we don’t burnout due to our frantic pace, I like to make healthy dinners that nourish of bodies and provide us with energy. One of my favorite dishes is a protein and vitamin rich salad which features spinach and quinoa as the star players. It is great as a main dish or served alongside grilled tofu or falafel sandwiches…
Spinach and Quinoa Salad: Serves 4
- 1 1/2 Cups of Red Quinoa
- 1/3 Cup of Carrot Rounds
- 1/3 Cup of Diced Red Onion
- 1 Cup of Quartered Cherry Tomatoes
- 2/3 Cup of Olives
- 3 Cups of Baby Spinach
- 1/3 Cup of Pistachios
- 5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
- 1 Teaspoon of Chopped Chives
- Pinch of Smoked Paprika
- Cracked Pepper
Cook 1 1/2 cups of red quinoa per instructions (usually 15 minutes to cook and 5 minutes to stand).
As the quinoa is cooking, measure 3 cups of baby spinach into a bowl. Then chop carrots, onion, tomatoes and olives and put them to the side.
To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, vinegar, nutritional yeast, mustard, chives and paprika in a small bowl. Flavor with salt and cracked pepper to taste. Mix well.
When the quinoa is finished cooking, pour it over of the baby spinach and toss. The warm quinoa will begin to wilt the spinach leaves and make them glossy. Add the carrots, onions, tomatoes, olives and dressing and mix everything well. On top of the salad, add the pistachios for a nice crunch. Finish with salt and pepper.
I made the salad vegan (and paired it with a Meiomi Pinot Noir), but it would also be great with goat cheese, feta, or grilled shrimp. Enjoy!