Isn’t this a gorgeous salad? Its the quinoa spinach salad from Rutabegorz, one of our favorite places to grab a healthy meal. It looks complicated, but really its so easy to put together.
This salad has spinach, quinoa, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, edamame, chickpeas, cucumber, avocado, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, and dried cranberries (I think, its hard to remember everything) . Rutabegorz uses a yogurt based dressing, but I use a vinegarette at home. All of these items can be purchased pre-cooked or chopped, so all you have to do is dump and dress.
You can completely make this salad your own. Don’t like artichokes? Leave them out, or substitute something you do like. Don’t love quinoa? Use brown rice or farro or barley. What makes it great is the mixture of textures, colors and flavors.
Hearty greens + beans, nuts and a whole grain for protein and heartiness + veggies for color, crunch and flavor + cheese and avocado for creaminess and their yum factor. Its a formula you can change any time, to fit your mood or your pantry.
Greens + Hearty (beans, grains, and/or nuts) + Colorful (veggies and fruits) + Crunch (veggies) + Creamy (avocado, small amounts of cheese, beans)
- Grab some baby spinach or mixed greens.
- Microwave frozen cooked quinoa, rice (the brown, red and wild combo is really good), or grab some cooked farro, wheat berries or barley.
- Open a can of beans, rinse and drain.
- Open a package of pre-cooked edamame from the deli, or defrost frozen.
- Toss in any nuts you want, unsalted are best in a salad. If you use the candied ones, don’t tell me about it.
- Add whatever veggies you have around. Roasted peppers and artichoke hearts come ready to go in jars. Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, onions, broccoli, can all be bought already cut or only take a minute to chop. Use whatever you like and have on hand.
- Slice an avocado, add your cheese (if you want), and toss with a dressing.
Honestly, this should take you about 15 minutes, if you make a homemade dressing. You can make a lot for a crowd, or keep your ingredients separate and ready in the fridge for days worth of great salads. Rinsed beans and cooked grains last for several days in the fridge, so do most veggies. Cut the avocado right before serving, or toss slices with lemon juice so they don’t brown.
Hearty salads like these pack, travel and keep well. Lunch just got easy.
What are your favorite salad combinations?