Spinach Salad with Warm Quinoa


As the weather continues to heat up, you may be faced with some days where you want a lighter meal for dinner.

Few of us want to sit down to a meal that is just salad, however. This is a recipe for a salad, but I always have found it to be more substantial than just greens and dressing. The combination of quinoa and sunflower seeds give a complete protein as does the cheese. And, because it is far easier to digest than cows milk products, we use goat’s cheese here (dairy sensitive individuals can leave this out and still have a great meal, mind you).

A couple of things to note. First, raw spinach contains an anti-nutrient called oxalic acid that can interfere with the absorption of some minerals. A serving here or there of raw spinach isn’t going to kill you, but enjoy it in moderation. Also, you can sub out the quinoa for millet, if you like. The result is very similar. Make sure you soak your quinoa before cooking it – quinoa has more phytic acid than any other grain which needs to be deactivated through soaking before eating.

Recipe for Spinach Salad with Warm Quinoa after the jump.

Spinach Salad with Warm Quinoa

1 5oz container of baby spinach
1 cup quinoa, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp Organic butter
A healthy pinch of unrefined sea salt
50g package of unripened goat cheese
2 green onions, diced
1/2 a cucumber, sliced
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of shelled sunflower seeds
Homemade dressing of choice (don’t ruin this salad with a bottled dressing – blech)

Pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a medium sized saucepan that’s been heated on the stove-top. Add in strained quinoa, stirring frequently while it toasts in the bottom of the pot.

Once you get a whiff of that toasted quinoa, it’s probably time to add the water. Add a cup of water and unrefined sea salt, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiled turn it down to a simmer. Simmer the quinoa for 15 or 20 minutes, or until all the water has soaked up and the grains are tender. Remove from heat and let cool for ten minutes.

While quinoa is cooling, toss spinach, green onion, cucumber, sunflower seeds and tomato in a large bowl. Spoon in the goat’s cheese in dabs and toss well. Add warm quinoa and toss yet again, allowing the spinach to wilt a little. Pour over dressing your dressing of choice and mix. Enjoy.

The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef.

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