Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas in a Maple Vinaigrette

7:42 AM

A salad so unique and so delicious.  
It's so good I forgot to even mention how healthy it is.

I ran across a blog last week and found myself instantly smitten.
Have you ever visited the Gluten Free Goddess?
Mouthwatering recipes ...  stunning food photography ...  (it's really hard to take good food photos)
Take a look - this blog won't disappoint!
I can't wait to try more of her recipes, and she also has the most gorgeous looking e-cookbook.

So, simply put, I love this salad.

The recipe calls for pears or she says you can use apples.  I didn't have any pears - had an apple.  I tried one bite with the apple, but enjoyed it much more without any fruit.  I couldn't stop refilling my plate!

I also used a little bit more of the chick peas and the toasted pecans.   I did  not use any fresh parsley.  This is the type of recipe that you can kind of customize to your liking.

Lastly, when I made this salad I followed the directions under the NOTE area.
Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas 
in a Maple Vinaigrette

1 cup organic quinoa
sea salt
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 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

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 place 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 pepper.

Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.

Makes 4 main course servings, six side dish servings.

Note:  if you are making this salad ahead of time, make the quinoa, fluff, and add the dressing while it is warm.  When it has cooled 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. 

If you try the salad or visit Gluten-Free Goddess let me know what you think.  I'm very interested and impressed!

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