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.
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!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (I cook mine in the rice cooker with broth)
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- ½ 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.
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. 🎉