I have a lot of favorite things about summer. The weather, the sun, the very much smaller loads of laundry from very much smaller clothes, the way that life just seems so much easier and slower, and of course, the berries! I love fresh berries, and yes, I know you can actually get them year round, but at $4.99 for a tiny little container, I say NO WAY. So I really, really, love it when I see prices in the $2.99 range, and I can hardly contain myself when I see a good buy one get one!
So right now, I’m loving fresh berries – and they are the inspiration for this Very Berry Spinach Salad. The popped quinoa adds a bit of a nutty crunch. Just heat the uncooked quinoa in a pan and toast it until it pops. Kind of like tiny baby round croutons.
Strawberries are a must, but you can add blackberries, blue berries, raspberries, or all of the above. Did you know berries are one of the best fruit sources for disease fighting antioxidants? Come to think of it, the spinach is pretty darn loaded with them too. That makes this a Pretty-Healthy salad.
- 1/4 cup quinoa rinsed and patted dry
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups mixture of blue berries raspberries, and/or black berries
- 1/4 of a small sweet onion sliced thin
- 1/4 cup of toasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- juice of 1 lime
- juice of 1 small lemon
- juice of 1 medium orange
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large saucepan on high heat, and add quinoa to hot, dry pan. Toss quinoa lightly to let dry, and let pan sit until quinoa starts to pop. Toss quinoa lightly while popping, so its pops evenly, and doesn't burn. Remove from heat when quinoa is light golden brown and popping slows.
Combine all remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, and toss well.
Combine all dressing ingredients except for salt and pepper in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour desired amount of dressing over salad, and sprinkle with popped quinoa.
Toss well and serve.
Store extra dressing in a jar or covered container.
Do you eat berries year round? Or mostly in the summer? Have you ever popped quinoa?