Here is a recipe that can be made with ease–even on a busy weeknight. Despite its simplicity, this salad really delivers when it comes to flavor, color, and nutrition. (Somehow balsamic reduction always has the power to give a dish a gourmet feel, no?) With spinach as our star green, we’re enjoying an excellent source of vitamins K, A, B2, E, B6, and C as well as minerals manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, and potassium. The addition of citrus slices (the key is to find a very small orange or tangerine, by the way) and lemon juice really ups the vitamin C content in this dish–just in time for cold season, too!
I enjoyed this vegan salad as a complete meal, but it can be served as just a side. Feel free to add any desired seasoning to your quinoa cooking water–just about anything would go with this dish. The next time I make this, I’ll probably add a pinch of cumin and coriander to my quinoa.
Quinoa & Orange Spinach Salad with Balsamic Reduction and Toasted Almonds
- 1 cup quinoa (dry)
- 2 cups baby spinach (or mixed greens)
- 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small orange or tangerine, peeled
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar (or liquid sweetener of choice)
1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine lemon juice and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt. Set aside.
3. In a small skillet, toast the chopped almonds over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they begin to brown *just slightly* and become fragrant. When the almonds are toasted to your liking, transfer them to a small bowl.
4. Rinse the small skillet, and return it to the stovetop. Add balsamic vinegar and coconut nectar (or liquid sweetener of your choice). Set heat to high and bring to a boil, being careful not to inhale the fumes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until you have a viscous liquid. Remove from heat.
5. Toss spinach or greens of your choice in the olive oil and lemon juice mixture. Arrange the dressed spinach on plates. Top with a generous scoop of cooked quinoa, toasted almonds, and small orange slices. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and serve!
Related: Hearty Carrot and Farro Salad
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Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell