Maybe it’s the warmer days, or the cheerful local tulips starting to appear in the markets, but I’m finding myself quickly transitioning away from craving all-things roasted to all-things fresh.
As such, we’ve been eating tons of veggie-packed, fresh salads. As in, for dinner practically every night this week.
I’m always looking for new combinations of greens and grains to add to my repertoire, and lately, I’ve been loving this simple, protein-packed quinoa and spring greens salad, layered with Mediterranean ingredients. It’s full of bright, punchy flavors, and super healthy to boot.
The whole salad comes together in a few minutes with ingredients that you probably already have in the pantry:
I start with pre-cooked quinoa (simmered with a splash of olive oil and a fat pinch of salt) and baby arugula, spinach and red chard (with those pretty ruby stems), then top that with sun-dried tomatoes, briny Kalamata olives and thinly-sliced almonds. The last step is a drizzle of a tangy lemon-olive oil vinaigrette, before a quick toss together.
This dish makes a lovely light lunch or side salad as is, and happens to be vegan and naturally gluten-free, although I tend to add a few tablespoons of salty, crumbled feta to the mix (which renders things strictly vegetarian instead of vegan, if that’s important to you).
While the quinoa and almonds pack a decent amount of protein, you can also add an extra boost with some cooked chickpeas or chopped chicken, if you’re looking for a more filling salad. Enjoy!
- 4 cups spring greens (arugula, spinach, baby kale, chard etc.)
- 1–1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- optional: 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Easy Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried Greek oregano
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Make the dressing: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and honey until emulsified. Stir in the garlic and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, greens, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, almonds, and feta cheese (if using).
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette (there may be some leftover), and gently toss to coat. Season, to taste. Enjoy!