Salads

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

How excited am I that blood oranges are back? That excited ^.

Also? This excited:

Blood Orange Margaritas

Last spring, we planted a tiny blood orange tree in the backyard. And somehow it survived. We won’t let any blooms go to fruit this year but next year, man. Next year.

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

Besides margaritas, one of my other favorite things to have for lunch is this salad. You might recognize it. It’s spinach & quinoa tossed with a quick vinaigrette of blood orange juice, white wine vinegar, and shallot and then topped with blood orange segments and crumbled goat cheese.

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

I can make it on the weekend and then eat it cold, straight from the fridge, for the next several days. It sort of balances out those weekend margaritas. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Looking for more blood orange recipes? Check out our winter citrus favorites here!

Blood Orange, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad

An easy winter salad with fresh spinach, quinoa, goat cheese, and blood oranges in a simple blood orange vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup quick-cooking quinoa, cooked according to package directions and chilled*
  • 3 oz fresh baby spinach (half a large clamshell or bag)
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use light-tasting oil)
  • *If you're not working with cold, leftover quinoa, spread the hot quinoa on a plate and put it in the fridge to chill, stirring a few times to help speed up cooling.

Instructions

  1. Segment the oranges over a bowl topped with a strainer set - let any seeds and segments fall into the strainer while the juice goes into the bowl below.
  2. After segmenting, squeeze all the remaining juice from the "membranes" left in your hand into the strainer.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the spinach, cold quinoa, goat cheese, and blood orange segments together.
  4. In the bowl with the blood orange juice, whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper together.
  5. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking.
  6. Pour over the salad, tossing to mix.
  7. Serve cold. Leftovers will keep a few days in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Today should be “Garden Friday” where I show you how I somehow managed to make it another 7 days without killing the green things growing in my backyard. But it’s raining outside. Like, “you shoulda’ built that ark” raining. So instead of showing you our first zucchini, or telling you about my peach tree dropping all but 6 fruit [sob], and that the beast Juliet tomato plant is loaded with almost-ready-to-pick tomatoes… I’ll just show you what I did with my recent kale overload.

I made salad.

I have introduced you to my favorite salad before. And this is its one-course-dinner cousin.

It’s what happens when strawberry season meets I-can’t-believe-I-went-30-days-without-goat-cheese meets holy-crap-I-planted-way-too-much-Kale. So like nearly everything else on my menu, it meets the requisite 2 parts desperation.

The salad is a perfect host for the beautiful strawberries that are coming out of the markets (and my backyard) right now. And the strawberries-goat cheese combo?

Nearly as perfect as chocolate and peanut butter.

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Because I had leftover chicken in the fridge, I used that to top the salads for a quick, light dinner. Or, for you Honey Boo Boo watchers, a “multimeal” :)

Don’t have two pots full of kale on your back patio? Use spinach instead! And don’t forget, this is a “cold salad” – the quinoa has to be cooked and cooled before so it doesn’t turn your kale into a bowl full of sad, wimpy greens.

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Fresh strawberries, kale, quinoa, and goat cheese come together for a perfectly light spring or summer dinner. Just add leftover chicken to make it a little heartier.

Ingredients

  • For the salad
  • 2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)
  • 3 oz kale, chopped (about half a bag or clam shell)
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • Leftover grilled chicken, optional (I used this wet rub)
  • For the dressing
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard (I use Creole)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the chopped greens, cold quinoa (it must be cold so it doesn't wilt the salad), crumbled goat cheese, and strawberries.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard.
  3. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and serve topped with sliced chicken.
  5. Leftovers will keep a couple of days covered in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: 6 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes

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Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

We now have a 3 year old! A 3 year old who eats things like quinoa, kiwi, prosciutto, and even a bite of sushi now and then. The crazy thing is that I can distinctly remember the first time I tried each of those foods – because I was far, far older than 3. But the small town I grew up in didn’t have fancy grocery stores that carried “fancy” foods – and on the occasion that they did, they most definitely wouldn’t have fit into our family’s small budget.

Growing up, vegetables that didn’t come from our garden came from a can, which means I also can remember the first time I had fresh broccoli (with ranch dip!) and cauliflower (with ranch dip!) and even fresh spinach. And even better than ranch dip? The spinach was in salad-form, coated in the late 90’s-early 2000’s trendy warm bacon dressing.

I immediately came home to recreate that magical, fancy salad for my family… only I didn’t wash the spinach well enough so I served my family a huge bowl of gritty spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. True story. One I have yet to live down. (Is that spinach? Did you wash it this time? IT WAS OVER 15 YEARS AGO!)

Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

And occasionally, I have this dream where I’m catering some gigantic, super special event and I realized that I forgot to wash the spinach that the President (or the Queen or Peyton Manning – the really important people) is about to eat. Another true story.

Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

My to-be sister-in-law brought this salad to a family get-together a couple of years ago and it has been one of my favorites ever since. It’s fresh spinach (triple-washed at the farm and then washed again at home!), quinoa (cooked and then chilled – so plan ahead), toasted pine nuts, and crumbled goat cheese tossed in a simple vinaigrette.

It’s as easy to make as it is to go back for seconds.

Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese

An easy salad with fresh spinach, quinoa, goat cheese, and pine nuts tossed in a simple vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • For the salad
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped (half a bag or clam shell)
  • 4 oz goat cheese (about 1/3 of a log)
  • For the dressing
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard (I use Creole)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa in water according to package directions.
  2. Spread the cooked quinoa on a plate or other shallow dish and refrigerate until completely cool, stirring once or twice if you're in a hurry.
  3. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts ~2 minutes and then shake the pan and heat for another minute.
  4. Transfer to a small plate and let cool.
  5. In a large bowl, add the chopped spinach, cold quinoa (it must be cold so it doesn't wilt the spinach), crumbled goat cheese, and cooled pine nuts.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard.
  7. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and serve.
  9. Leftovers will keep a couple of days covered in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: 6 generous servings

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Field Greens with Spiced Walnuts and Goat Cheese

My contribution for this week’s Project Pastry Queen recipe is last week’s Project Pastry Queen recipe. The group is baking up Snow-Tipped Sand Tarts this week. But I’m suffering from the usual post-Thanksgiving food coma burn out so turning on the oven for 5 minutes to roast a small batch of spiced walnuts was really all I could take.

Which is why there are two salad posts in a row. And I can assure you, that has never, ever happened here :)

This salad was a super welcome change from the previous day’s road trip food and the calorie-dense spread of Thanksgiving #2. Fresh greens tossed with a standard balsamic vinaigrette and topped with cranberries and spiced walnut-crusted goat cheese rounds. Fresh. Light. And not a block of cream cheese or slice of pie in sight.

You can get the recipe for the spiced walnuts (or pecans, as the original recipe called for), balsamic vinaigrette, and goat cheese rounds over at A Gilt Nutmeg.

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