Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, and Chickpeas

The power of a Healthy Day never ceases to amaze me. I had an epic weekend in the ICU, one of the most challenging of the year with the acuity level of our patients. I used yesterday as a recovery day, but today I had to get back on track. I woke up with the goal of getting a great workout, drinking lots of water, eating clean, doing a face mask and my nails, and watching a feel good disney movie. No pizza, no ice cream, no wine. Just good clean living for this aging body of mine! Let me tell you, in this moment I feel amazing. Energetic, refreshed, calm, and happy. A good dose of exercise is a powerful drug.  
It's been awhile since I posted a quinoa recipe, and this one is just too delicious not to share. I've added chicken to this salad for extra protein. I like to add the dressing to the warm quinoa, let it cool, and then add the remaining ingredients. If you are making it in advance, it's good to add the pear and pecans right before serving so they don't get too soggy. This salad is meant for spring! 

Here are great instructions on how to make quinoa in a rice cooker.
Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, and Chickpeas
from gluten free goddess
serves 4

1 cup organic quinoa
Sea salt
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chickpeas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve. Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the quinoa and fluff.

Whisk together the vinaigrette, pour it over the quinoa salad and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.

Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine. 

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