Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, Pecans + Maple Vinaigrette
And it makes a fabulous (beautiful!) Labor Day picnic offering for all your guests that shun gluten, dairy, eggs, and critters.
From the archives, in the nick of time...
If you're looking for a fresh idea to liven up your ho-hum salad plate, Sweetcakes, have I got a recipe for you. Light, vegan, and packed with protein, this is no ordinary bunny food. It's got quinoa. Studded with nutty, buttery chick peas and crunchy toasted pecans and succulent jewels of ripe, juicy pears. And did I mention, in a bowl licking maple vinaigrette?
In fact, this is a salad even salad haters would eat. You know, those stalwart gotta have my meat and potatoes aficionados who eschew anything leafy. Who snicker at fiber. And mock carrot sticks. The sort of individual who gets misty eyed for melted butter and bacon martinis. To said individuals, salad could never be anything but rabbit chow. But this lovely mélange of flavors just might pique their interest. The sheer luxurious deliciousness of these autumnal flavors might coax them into flirting with bunny food goodness. Just this once. Then- who knows what could happen? They might settle in, fork poised, all dubious and dreaming of rib eye. They might take a bite. And then another. And another. And before you can say blueberry pancakes on a stick- they might actually smack their lips and grin and hold out their empty plate for more.
You could smile back, sly and slow, as you reach for the serving spoon to comply with their new found desire.
And feed their craving.
Karina's Quinoa Salad Recipe with Pears, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas in a Maple Vinaigrette
Recipe originally published October 2010 by Karina Allrich.Quinoa adds vegan protein and heft to simple green salads- perfect for lunch or a light supper. Use pears or apples in this recipe- either one will work.
1 cup organic quinoa
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste
For the Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve. Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.
Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the quinoa and fluff.
Whisk together the vinaigrette, pour it over the quinoa salad and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.
Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.
Makes four main course servings, six side dish servings.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
Here's my post How to Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker, with more quinoa recipes.
If you are making this salad ahead of time, I suggest you make the quinoa, fluff, and add the dressing while it is warm. When it cools to room temperature, add in the spinach, chick peas and parsley; toss, cover and chill. Before serving add the pears, and toasted pecans. Taste test and add more seasoning if needed.
Some folks like a dab of Dijon mustard in their vinaigrette- I don't, especially lately. But if you love a mustard-y flavor spike, add a teaspoon of Dijon to the salad dressing. Just don't make it too strong- it may overpower the pears.
I prefer salads lightly dressed, Darling. If you find that your quinoa and spinach needs a bit more dressing, double the vinaigrette recipe.
More gluten-free quinoa recipes from fabulous food bloggers:
FatFree Vegan Kitchen offers up a Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash
Cooking with Amy serves up Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Asparagus & Avocado
Perfect Pantry's Quinoa, Black Bean, Red Pepper Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette looks delicious.
Kalyn's Kitchen whips up Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes + Cucumbers in a Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
Skinny Taste's Gina makes a tasty Quinoa Risotto