Red Quinoa Pear and Spinach Salad #VeryVegetarian Challenge
Here’s my second recipe that I promised for the Very Vegetarian Challenge with OXO and Plated. This one, my Red Quinoa Pear and Spinach Salad is one I eat all the time. It’s full of awesome protein in the quinoa, juicy sliced pears, iron rich spinach, walnuts and blue cheese. What’s not to love? There’s also a special dressing that works perfectly.
If you’re not familiar with the challenge from my earlier post, Curried Black Lentils with Butternut Squash Hash Topped with a Fried Egg that I did for the challenge then I’ll go back over the details.
The rules of the contest are easy enough for anyone to follow. I received a fun box of gadgets in the mail from OXO where I had to incorporate three of those items in my recipe. The rest are all for me!! The best of fun mail days for a blogger! With the chosen tools I was to create a balanced vegetarian recipe that could be completed in 30 minutes, using 10-12 ingredients and serving 2. I was to use seasonal products and break the instructions down in 5 to 6 easy steps. This one is a little less involved than the first recipe I posted but just as good!
If you’ve never heard of Plated, check them out here. They ship perfectly measured ingredients and instructions to cook a gourmet meal in thirty minutes or less right to your door! That’s amazing to me. I don’t work outside the home any longer but when I did I can’t even imagine how much this would have saved my evenings from additional stress and work getting dinner on the table in a timely manner. Just saying. Someone should try it.
I eat a lot of spinach salads. I made this one back in the early days of this blog. The picture is a little rough but at least I know I’m improving!
For this recipe I used the hand-held mandoline slicer to slice the pears to get them as thick or thin as I wanted. I used the tongs to turn my walnuts while they toasted but I use tongs all the time. I used the whisk and the perfect Salad Dressing Shaker. I’m so happy to have this baby! I normally use my immersion blender to make dressings but this worked just as good and I didn’t have to drag out another appliance, no matter how small it was.
In my dressing I used hazelnut oil. It’s not an ingredient you’ll find in most homes I know but it’s phenomenal. It has this rich nutty flavor that works so well in dressings. I added Meyer lemon juice (they’re my absolute favorite and seasonal right now…check out these scrumptious pudding pies!), white balsamic and a little salt, pepper and honey. So simple but stunning.
This recipe, like I said is really simple. The red quinoa gets cooked in vegetable stock to give it some great flavor. The walnuts are toasted to bring out even more of the nutty goodness. The pears are sliced thinly and it’s all added to the mix with baby spinach leaves and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle or drench it (I drench) with the dressing and you’re good to go. Here’s the recipe. Adjust any ingredient to your liking. That’s the best way to make a salad I think!
Salad Dressing Shaker
Small Fruit Scoop (Optional…I use them to stir all kinds of things)
- 3/4 cup red quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup walnut halves and pieces
- 1 Anjou pear (or pear of choice)
- 1 cup spinach leaves, firmly packed, stems removed
- 2 ounces blue cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon honey (more to taste)
- Juice from half a Meyer lemon (regular lemon can be used to substitute when not in season)
- 1/4 cup Hazelnut oil
- Rinse quinoa under running water. Add the vegetable broth to a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the liquid is gone and quinoa is tender about 15 minutes.
- In a small sauté pan over medium heat add the walnuts and cook turning several times until toasted, about 3-4 minutes.
- Using the hand-held mandoline set on 2, slice the pear and set aside. Rinse spinach and dry on a paper towel. Tear off stems if desired. Crumble blue cheese with a fork if in solid form.
- In a small bowl whisk together honey, pinch of salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar and Meyer lemon juice. Pour into salad shaker and top with hazelnut oil. Shake vigorously.
- Once quinoa is done. Plate half on the bottom of each dish and top with remaining ingredients halving them all. Pour dressing over the top and enjoy.
What’s your favorite way to eat red quinoa?