Quinoa-Spinach Salad

Sometimes it’s nice to make dinner and lunch at the same time, which is exactly what I did last night. I was in the mood for something lighter and healthier (after a ton of heavy eating in cottage country) so the first thing that came to mind was, of course, quinoa.

However, I am starting to get real sick of quinoa salads where quinoa is used as the base, so I decided to use spinach as the base instead and use quinoa as one of the many lovely toppings.

Everything I put into this salad was quite easy to prepare. First I roasted a couple sweet potatoes.

Because I didn’t have much patience to roast the potatoes for a long time, I chopped them up quite small and roasted them at 475° F for 20 minutes. They turned out quite nicely, aside from a couple burnt pieces, they were crispy and tender.

I prepared two cups of quinoa and spread it across a tray when it was done so it would cool down quickly. As the potatoes were roasting and the quinoa was simmering, I halved cherry tomatoes, and chopped up avocado and herbed goat cheese.

In my vinaigrette was olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and honey — easy peasy.

I ate this meal for dinner and I plan to eat it for lunch today 🙂

Oh and I also made some for my sisters and boyfriend — they are quite excited for their lunches.

Here is the recipe, enjoy!

Quinoa-Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Makes 5-6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of dry quinoa
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used herbed)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 ° F. Line baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Mix cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spread across baking sheet and roast about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place 2 cups of quinoa and four cups of water in medium pot. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer until all the water is absorbed.
  4. Once quinoa and sweet potatoes have cooled, place spinach leaves, then quinoa, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, and goat cheese in serving dish.
  5. Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette and drizzle over salad. Serve cold.

Yours edibly,

Elana

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Kale Eatery

My friend Ali and I both share a special love for vegan, gluten-free, raw foods. When Ali told me about Kale Eatery, I was very excited to try it out.

Kale Eatery is probably the only place in Toronto where you can pile a plate high with stews, salads and slime, and feel great about eating it all.

We chose to eat from the salad bar. When colourful food stares me in the eye like that I just really don’t have the patience to order off an a la carte menu.

So this is Ali’s plate:

I am going to try my best to name everything on her plate from memory, from the top, going clockwise: green pea and cucumber salad, squash stew, cole slaw, portobello mushroom and egglant salad, steamed kale and broccoli with tofu miso dressing.

Now my plate:

Clockwise from the top: squash stew, tomato, avocado, and celery salad, portobello mushroom and eggplant salad, tofu, lentil, and leek salad, tofu miso dressing, herbed artichokes, and tofu curry salad in the center.

This place is delicious and nutritious — seriously. If you’re into this sort of thing then you should definitely pay Kale a visit. Although some of the salads were slightly under-seasoned for my taste buds, I have to cut the chefs some slack. It’s not easy making simple, raw food so tasty, and Kale’s selection of salads is pretty good.

You can find the menu on Kale’s website – check it out and let me know what you think.

Yours meatless-ly,

Elana

Salads

Contrary to what some of you may believe, I do eat more than just cheesecake — I swear! The other day I decided to make salad.

My sister Shauna just came back from a trip to Europe with her bf. She loves quinoa almost more than anyone I know, so I decided to make a quinoa salad for her. But then I was sort of in the mood for brussel sprouts (a personal fave) and I thought making them would be a good way to lure the bf over (he loves brussel sprouts too!).

So anyways, I made a quinoa salad with roasted tomatoes and kale, and a not-so-simple green salad with brussel sprouts, asparagus, and spinach.

Here is the recipe I made for the quinoa salad.

Roasted Tomato & Kale Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 kale leaves, chopped to bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups quinoa

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place halved tomatoes in large glass baking dish (like a pyrex).
  2. Add garlic, oil, vinegar, crushed  red pepper flakes, basil, salt, and pepper to tomatoes and mix well.
  3. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mix in kale with tomato mixture making sure kale is nicely covered by dressing, and roast an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile rinse 2 cups of quinoa in sifter to remove bitter coating. Place quinoa in pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer and remove from heat once water is absorbed.
  5. Pour tomato and kale mixture over quinoa while both are still warm. Mix well and serve!

The end result should look something like this…

Now for my not-so-simple green salad. The only reason why this isn’t so simple is because of the crazy veggies I have in it — brussel sprouts and asparagus are totally crazy. Otherwise, the method is so simple!

This is the recipe I made:

Green Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 1 bunch asparagus, with ends broken off
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a little salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat a large braising pan or skillet with high edges to medium-high heat. Spray with a little Pam or add a tiny bit of oil.
  2. Once pan is hot add brussel sprouts and cover. Flip and turn brussel sprouts often, heat about 8 minutes before adding asparagus. Add asparagus to bottom of pan and heat about 5 minutes then add spinach. Cover pan and once spinach is wilted, brussel sprouts are slightly browned, and asparagus is tender, remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare dressing by whisking together garlic, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Drizzle dressing over green vegetables and serve.

My sisters are definitely my toughest critics. I can usually tell immediately from their facial expressions if they like what I’ve made or not.

Sharona was very happy to see kale and all the other dark green vegetables at dinner — typical of someone who has spent most of their academic career studying Canada’s Food Guide.

Shauna was surprised that she enjoyed the quinoa because she usually doesn’t like tomatoes — score!

Michala wasn’t so happy about the brussel sprouts — whatever, you can’t please them all.

Ariella is in Dublin — one less critic to worry about.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana