Turn an ordinary simple salad into a power spinach salad by adding protein-packed quinoa and fiber rich apples and pecans.
Have you ever tried quinoa?
If you haven’t then this apple spinach quinoa salad recipe is the perfect one to taste test.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa is a whole grain that is gluten free, and is an good source of protein and fiber.
It’s pronounced KEEN- WAH and is all the rage among health food experts.
How does it taste?
It has a nutty undertone and an earthy aftertaste similar to brown rice.
One of my favorite ways to eat it is paired with fresh spinach and plenty of sweet flavors.
It’s perfect for a great side dish or a light lunch.
What does quinoa taste like?
I admit I was one of those who turned my nose at quinoa.
I don’t know what I was afraid of because it’s not at all what I expected.
Quinoa tastes a bit nutty, like rice and couscous.
It has a texture that’s quite light and fluffy.
It’s delicious with sweet cranberries and sweet-tart apple slices.
But best of all, quinoa is loaded in protein and can serve as a main dish by itself.
I like to add it to a bed of baby spinach leaves with other simple ingredients to transform this easy dish into a healthy salad recipe.
We’ve been trying to eat healthier and incorporate more heart healthy grains into our diets.
I’ve been stuffing peppers with quinoa, adding it to my soups and now sprinkling it into salads.
This apple season the local apples have been delicious.
There’s nothing like the sweet taste of a Honeycrisp apple served in a spinach salad.
I like to add apples to a salad because it allows me to cut back on the dressing.
It’s a healthier choice that just tastes better.
For this power salad I added sweet cranberries, toasted pecans and creamy goat cheese.
Raisins and almonds, walnuts or pine nuts are also great additions and would be just as delicious.
How to make the dressing
Homemade dressing allows me to cut back on the oil to keep the salad truly healthy.
I used white balsamic vinegar to make this dressing but apple cider vinegar would work just as well.
Grab these simple ingredients to make this dressing.
- White balsamic vinegar
- Extra virgin olive Oil
- Stone ground mustard
- Salt and pepper
A little goes a long way.
The salad is sweet enough with the sweet apples and cranberries that just drizzle is all you need.
Top it off with little bites of goat cheese for the most scrumptious salad you have ever had.
What to serve with this apple quinoa spinach salad
- Cast Iron Salmon
- Grilled Chicken Kebabs
- Easy Braised Beef Short Ribs Recipe (with Red Wine)
- How to Make Easy Bone-In Oven Baked Pork Chops
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Easy Apple Quinoa Spinach Salad Recipe
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 5 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, sliced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- goat cheese
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
- Salt and black pepper
- Prepare the quinoa. Quinoa will increase four times its size when cooked. So to make one cup of cooked quinoa you’ll need to measure out 1/4 cup of dried quinoa to be cooked. You will use a 2 to 1 ratio. So you will use 1/2 cup water.
- Run cold water over the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Add the quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- While the quinoa is simmering, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the remaining ingredients including the vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
- Assemble spinach in a large bowl, top with the cooled fluffy quinoa, sliced apples, pecans, cranberries and goat cheese. Before serving, drizzle with the salad dressing.
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