Lunches in my house usually consist of a comforting bowl of vegetable soup or a big salad full of crunchy vegetables and grains. We just returned from snow-covered Michigan this week to our place in Florida where the temperatures are reaching record highs. Because of the warm weather here, instead of soup this week, I decided salads are a more appropriate lunch option. February is strawberry season in Florida and Plant City strawberries are now everywhere. I wanted to take advantage of the ripe, fresh berries found in every grocery and farmer’s market, so I made my version of a berry spinach salad. I enriched my salad with quinoa and edamame to ensure it had a good helping of protein. I added some green onions and celery for added crunch and topped my salad with a vibrant honey poppy seed dressing and lightly toasted almonds.
I am working on including more plant-based meals into our weekly menu plan, so I didn’t include any animal protein in this salad. If you are a meat lover, crispy bacon bits would be a great addition, and if you added strips of grilled chicken, the entire family would enjoy this salad as a main course.
Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, although it does act as a grain in most recipes. Including quinoa into your recipes adds a complete protein containing all the necessary amino acids. It is also an excellent source of fiber, and a decent source of iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin E. Those on a gluten-free diet can enjoy quinoa as well! I used a mixed tricolored quinoa blend in this salad, but you could use any color of quinoa you prefer.
Deborah Mele 2018
Quinoa, Berry, & Spinach Salad With Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
- 3/4 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 2 (5 Ounce) Pkg. Baby Spinach
- 6 Green Onions, Chopped
- 2 Celery Stalks, Finely Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cups Cooked & Cooled Edamame
- 2 Cups Sliced Fresh, Ripe Strawberries
- 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Blueberries
- 1/3 Cup Lightly Toasted Sliced Almonds
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- 4 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons Poppy Seeds
- 1 Heaping Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve.
- Place the quinoa in a small pot with the water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes.
- Remove lid and cool to room temperature.
- Flush quinoa with a fork, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, spinach, onions, celery, edamame, strawberries and blueberries.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until blended.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
- Top with the almonds and serve immediately.