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Spinach and quinoa salad: A healthy recipe for weeknight meals

Monday - 10/7/2013, 6:42am  ET

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This dish uses two power foods --spinach and quinoa -- and takes under 30 minutes to throw together. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - The kids have been back in school for several weeks now, and if the rush of the fall season is starting to catch up with you at the dinner table, it's time to relax and re-think family meals.

Aviva Goldfarb, of The Six O'Clock Scramble, has a simple and healthy recipe that can be made ahead of time and devoured in minutes with minimal complaints from family members.

This dish uses two power foods -- spinach and quinoa -- and takes less than 30 minutes to throw together. It can be served as a main dish, as a side or as a salad. Plus, it keeps for a few days, making it easy to turn into lunches.

Spinach and quinoa salad with toasted cashews and dried cranberries:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, preferably red
  • 1⁄2 - 1 lemon, juice only, 1⁄2 cup
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil (preferably something light and fruity, if you have it)
  • 6 oz. baby spinach, about 6 cups, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 scallions, dark and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped, or use 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 cup cashews, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped, or use toasted pumpkin seeds for a nut-free alternative
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to package directions (this can be done up to two days in advance). In a measuring cup or medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and dried dill, if using it (if using fresh dill, add it with the remaining salad ingredients).

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the cheese. Stir in the cooked quinoa and the dressing, then gently fold in the cheese. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to three days.

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