It’s Fresh Start Monday! And we’re starting with this quinoa summer salad.
At the risk of sounding annoyingly excited about a Monday morning, I have to say – I love a good fresh start. Especially after weekend eating that includes sushi takeout with an emphasis on the shrimp tempura rolls, BBQ eatings from a friend’s wedding, and a smorgasbord of good ol’ potluck food including this SLOW COOKED MEXICAN GRILLED CORN DIP from my friend Steph at our Sunday dinner club party yesterday. Seriously whenever I say “dinner club” I feel like I’m 80. And seriously I ate a plateful of that cold leftover corn dip after everyone left last night. Judge or join. It’s up to you.
We know how to food-party on the weekend – no doubt about it. But the weekend is over and it’s Fresh Start Monday.
You know the feeling when you’ve had such a good (bad) eating weekend that you’re actually looking forward to a big bowl of salad? Yes, you and I both know. That’s why this salad exists. It was created to satisfy the Fresh Start Monday craving for anyone, anywhere, who might also have a personal rule about only eating salads that taste amazing. Repeat: Must. Taste. Amazing.
How to make our Quinoa Summer Salad (40 secs):
This salad is 1) easy, 2) delicious and filling, like only the best salads are, and 3) HEALTHY in a number of ways.
The ways in which it is healthy for your Fresh Start Monday:
- Quinoa = protein. ✔ Bjork is on a major protein kick right now so we’re looking to find ways to eat the same food that (for me) might not need much meat. I get lazy, you know? Quinoa is the perfect balancer for us – he gets his protein, I get my easy meatless meals.
- Veggie rainbow! ???? We love a good veggie rainbow around here – especially when you can create a veggie rainbow with, um, two ingredients: spinach and those very adorable tricolor cherry tomatoes. Except are they cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes? or something else? All I know is they sell big boxes of them at Costco and they are a summertime must.
- Vegan potential. ⭐ That’s right, there is the potential to make this salad completely plant-based. Use the Magic Green Sauce (thinned a bit with water) for dressing and you’re in vegan business.
- CHEESE potential. ???? Because honestly, there are times when you just can’t say no to those little fresh Mozzarella balls. Let’s set realistic expectations here.
- Reduces stress. ???? To make this salad, you’ll have to lift approximately three fingers for about five seconds. Get your zen on! Time to kick stressful salad-making to the curb.
- Happy face! ???? You know those days when everything is going NOT right and you remember your most awesome lunch waiting for you in the fridge and you suddenly get a rush of happy brain chemicals? That’s this salad. Happy = healthy.
Real quick – the dressing situation.
Magic Green Sauce works great! ????
And (surprise) so does the Avocado Cilantro Dressing! ????
You can add or swap just about anything to this summer salad and it’s going to be great. Trust me because I’ve added every possible thing that I could have ever found in the fridge – pickled onions, crushed almonds, fresh sweet corn, sriracha, beans, leftover grilled brats, more veggies…
With a simple simple simple base of spinach, tricolor tomatoes, and quinoa, there’s nothing you can’t do.
(we’re chanting now) Fresh Start Mon-Day! Fresh Start Mon-Day! Fresh Start Mon-Day!
Green Goddess Quinoa Summer Salad – simple, healthy, and extremely adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand! my family LOVES this recipe. vegetarian and can be made vegan.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (I cook mine in the rice cooker with broth)
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup (or more, to taste) Magic Green Sauce or Avocado Cilantro Dressing (the Magic Green Sauce is vegan, the Avocado dressing is not)
- fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into bite sized pieces
- a few handfuls of crushed almonds or other nuts
- grilled veggies like asparagus or zucchini
- grilled chicken or other protein
- Cook the quinoa in advance if you can – it tastes best when it’s had a few hours to cool.
- Toss all ingredients together to combine! If the Magic Green Sauce is too thick to toss together with the other ingredients, just add a little water or oil to the bowl and it should toss together smoothly.
I cook my quinoa in vegetable broth for more flavor, and I also cook twice the amount of quinoa I need for this recipe because I like to keep it in the fridge for the week!
PS. In case you should think that this salad is only for people who like healthy food, I want you to know that we made this about five hundred times at the cabin this year where everyone from my 1-year-old nephew to my 13-year-old brother to my parents and even my grandparents joined the quinoa salad party. ????