January 23, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins, and Walnuts

Are you still following through on that New Year’s resolution? You know the one you made, promising yourself that you’ll eat healthier (More fiber? More veggies? Less meat?) in 2010? If it has been a bit of a struggle, or even if you’re still on board, but you’re sick and tired of the lettuce-based salads, smoothies, and the like, check out quinoa.

Quinoa is a tiny seed that acts like a grain. But it’s more than just another grain. Quinoa is packed with healthy fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. It’s nutty in flavor, and will fill you up, leaving you satisfied. It’s gluten-free, so for those of us that have to stay away from gluten, this seed makes a perfect stand-in for recipes that call for bulgur or couscous. I personally love it – it cooks up in 15 minutes, and absorbs flavors and dressings without getting mushy, making it perfect for a salad such as this.

What’s wonderful about this salad? You can throw in pretty much anything you want. Really. I stood in my kitchen last night, deciding what easy-to-make, easy-on-the-tummy meal I wanted to throw together. This salad literally originated from leftovers and pantry staples. Substitutions are simple – I can imagine dried cranberries in place of the currants and raisins, almonds or pine nuts in place of the walnuts, or fresh spinach, kale, or chard in place of the frozen spinach used here. Really, it’s all about you, and choosing a mixture of ingredients that will satisfy, and keep you on that road to eating healthier.

Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins, and Walnuts

1 T olive oil

2 T minced red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 c quinoa, rinsed (rinsing is to remove the bitterness from the seeds)

1 ½ T golden raisins

1 ½ T dried currants

1 2/3 c water

1 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

¼ c toasted chopped walnuts

2 T chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 T good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

3 oz feta or goat cheese

 In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add the quinoa and continue to sauté for another minute or so. Add the raisins, currants and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until water is nearly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and cover again and let cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, walnuts, and parsley. Season generously to taste. Drizzle olive oil over and stir in. Serve chilled or at room temperature, topped with a bit of feta.

 Serves 4.

55 Responses to “Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins, and Walnuts”

  1. This looks great. I love all the flavors with a healthy kick!!!!

  2. I love throwing quinoa or millet into a pot with random things – it always works brilliantly! I like the addition of raisins and currants – I’ll have to throw some in next time I’m cooking quinoa.

  3. This looks like an excellent quinoa salad to incorporate into weekly dinners. I adore all of the great flavors and enticing colors.

  4. I really love the texture of quinoa, but for some reason we don’t often use it. I guess if we just kept it in the pantry, we could use your recipe with whatever else we have because your recipe is so flexible. That will come in handy on a weeknight for dinner.

  5. Must get quinoa. Must remember to get quinoa. That salad looks really great. Something i need to incorporate into my diet right now. Not that I’ve fallen off the wagon or anything like that. I just like salads of all kinds. ;-D

  6. looks wonderful had a hard time finding you hope you leave your info on the forum for us~ r u on twitter or facebook?

  7. A fellow blogger recently gave me the “Honesty Award.” One of the requirements is that I similarly award it to fellow bloggers. I thought you deserved it.
    See: http://fightthefatfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/01/honesty-award-me-really.html

  8. It’s challenging to eat healthy but even with small steps, I’ll give myself a pack on the back. I absolutely love quinoa but since they are expensive, I don’t eat it as often. But if they’re really affordable, I would eat them everyday.

  9. Mmmm! Anything with quinoa in my mind is simply divine! Garlic, lemon, spinach, currants, raisins, walnuts, and olive oil — sounds delish!

    -Ali :)

  10. Yes! I’m still keeping up with my New Year’s resolution! Well, I try, at least. Every once in a while, I crave bad food…. :) This looks like a great recipe for everyone who is trying to eat a little healthier and balanced. Love all the ingredients in the salad. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. It looks so delicious! I adore anything quinoa!

  12. Oh wow, this looks like my perfect combination of foods!

  13. I keep meaning to get some quinoa to try cooking with, and haven’t yet but I think this salad of yours has just pushed me to the point where I HAVE to get some :)

  14. Love the versitility of quinoa. What a fantastic mix of flavors you have going on here! I could eat this everyday for lunch :)

  15. This dish of yours looks wonderful. I haven’t made anything with quinoa in a while. You’ve inspired me. I love the addition of toasted walnuts and currants. Must try that. I also love healthy meals like that that don’t require searching for ingredients. Like you said, you can make this with whatever you have on hand. Perfect recipe in my mind. Thanks!

  16. This looks great. I love quinoa and the additions of raisins and goat cheese are great ideas. Congrats on the top 9!

  17. Congrats on making top 9 on FoodBuzz!

  18. I love Quinoa, but have been less-than-creative with preparing. Thanks for inspiring me with this recipe.

    And congrats on making it to the top 9!!!

  19. I love quinoa, and yet I haven’t had any for ages. What’s my problem? So thank you for reminding me of how easy and good it is! Great photo – very appetizing!

  20. I found that parching quinoa, heating it in a dry pan until it is toasted, makes it taste much nicer. thanks for the post.

  21. I love healthy, simple cooking like this and quinoa is such a great grain. Isn’t it the only grain with complete protein?

  22. What a great combination with quinoa….raisins, nuts, spinach… oh my.

  23. Congrats on the Top 9!! You are amazing!! And that pic is fabulous. I could use a good meal right about now…I wish you’d some of that by my place.

  24. hey! Thanks for visiting my blog today! It is always a treat to meet more Dallas-food blogger let alone GF and a mom of 3(same boat). Be sure to pick up a copy of the DMN tomorrow. smile. And sure, interested in this group possibly that you were talking about. Let me know more. I will add you to my blog roll this week.
    cheers,
    amy :)

  25. Quinoa salad is great. I make mine exactly like your … a little bit of this … a little bit of that. It works beautifully. Yours looks scrumptious. I need to stock up on quinoa again. It’s not something I can get at my regular grocery store, so thanks for the reminder.

    Shirley

  26. A lovely salad! I love the addition of raisins and walnuts!

  27. I adore quinoa. Looks like a fabulous salad!

  28. Wow, that’s looks amazing! I’m going to add that my recipe list!

  29. This looks like an incredibly good salad – I love all the flavors, including quinoa!

  30. Quinoa has become a staple in our kitchen. I usually use some kind of broth, in place of water, to add just a bit more of a kick (and depending on what I’m putting in it) I love your combo of goat cheese raisins and spinach.

  31. Very lovely!

  32. i see sweet, crunchy, fresh, tasty………from this salad!
    very creative dish!

  33. I can’t even EXPRESS to you how much I love quinoa. I love love love it! I want to make this dish for lunch!

    • TastyTrix, Serena, Scott, atxglutenfree, glutenfreeforgood, Debi, Natasha, Shirley, amy, Amy, chayacomfycook, Amber, Carol Egbert, Rochelle, Simply Life, Angie, Sook, Ali, jenn, Vegetable Matter, Christina, Katie, Miranda, Teanna, lululu, Lauren, MyMansBelly, Jenn, opks, and Esi – Thank you!

      Divina – You are correct, quinoa is definitely more expensive than other grains. I can find it for about $3-4 a pound at Whole Foods, but compared to brown rice or other grains, that is pricey. But if you consider it as a complete protein (it is), then it’s as expensive as meat – and a great substitute for vegetarians. We don’t have it every day at our house, but I love the variety!

      Scott – Thank you for the award!

      pegasuslegend – forum? I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

  34. Thank you for this salad. I love using this grain and am always looking for more ways to use it. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  35. This will be perfect for my new found obsession with quinoa! Great recipe! Thanks!

  36. Delicious! There’s quinoa in the cabinet waiting for another use.

  37. Fabulous — another reminder that I need to pick up more quinoa. So good to have around in the pantry. I love the little crunch when you eat them. If enjoying food is half flavor, half texture, quinoa certainly has the best of both worlds.

  38. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

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  40. always looking for new quinoa recipes…bookmarking this one for later!

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  43. Looks delicioso! i think i can pull this off, i just need to get myself some quinoa. :P

    thanks for sharing this, i want to share this to my other friends too in to guide Foodista, just if you won’t mind adding the foodista widget for quinoa at the end of this post and that should do it. Thanks and keep em coming!

  44. I made this today and WOW!! It’s fabulous….I kept telling myself, “Ok, just one more bite…”

    Can’t wait to share it in my Adopt a GF blogger post.

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  46. I’ve been seeing/reading a lot about quinoa lately. Just learning how to pronounce it, too! LOL! This looks like the perfect recipe to get us started! Absolutely beautiful salad!

  47. Quinoa is one of my go-to grains. What a wonderful, hearty way to prepare it – really nice combination of flavors in textures in this salad.

  48. This looks delicious to me. (My husband wouldn’t like the raisins, nuts or feta. To him I say, pppbbbbttttt.)
    I just bought a big bag of quinoa.

  49. I love everything about this salad!

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  53. Just made this recipe and added apples, balsamic vinegar and a tiny bit of agave and it was AMAZING!

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