I’m so thrilled that today’s post is post is sponsored by my favorite fruit of all time — those golden, juicy, and delicious Opal apples. Major virtual high five to Opal apples for being amazing to eat and extra-amazing to eat in salads like this one.
You guys, I can’t even.
POMEGRANATES :: RED QUINOA :: PISTACHIOS :: GOAT CHEESE :: PICKLED BEETS IF YOU CAN HANDLE IT :: OPAL APPLES :: BABY SPINACH BUT NOT TOO MUCH BABY SPINACH :: LIGHT CHAMPAGNE VINAIGRETTE.
*head massage emoji*
I need to address something with you, though. As you’re going to see in just a second when you look at this picture, I, uhh, well, I just made my first Mason jar salad.
And it is 2014 almost 2015. And Mason jar salads have been floating around the internet since, um, like, forever ago. And yeah, that just happened for the first time in my kitchen right now today. Maybe I’m a tiny little bit slow on trends. Mayyybe.
Mason jar or no Mason jar, Bjork and I are headed up north for the weekend, meaning that we’re going to eat at two of my favorite Minnesota restaurants (!! I get superexcited about these things) and also meaning that I am chowing down on this Winter Rainbow Quinoa Salad like a champ to get a little extra healthy glow in before our weekend away.
As I was prepping this for the week, I just got hit by the ridiculously, annoyingly cute Mason jar salad inspiration. Two reasons I decided to go for it:
1. FACT: I am a cooler person when I use a Mason jar for anything. It’s just in the laws of nature according to Pinterest and Fancy Girl Life. These are literally the shortest days of the year, I’m feeling like a hibernating Minnesota winter homebody, and so to avoid the deep winter slump I needed to experience some perks of the high life. Enter Mason jar salads.
2. This salad has Opal apples in it, and Opal apples do not brown NO FOR REAL I JUST SAID THAT. Opals are non-GMO, golden, juicy, firm, crispy, delicious apples that do not brown when you cut them. Layer those apples right in the jar and you can stare at it all week long, still looking just and pretty and fresh as the day you assembled it. I pinkie promise you that these pictures were taken four days after I made the salad. 1-2-3-4 days! and still perky and fresh and tasting like nature’s perfect candy.
Ugh, I mean, this is just way too good to be true. (But it’s true.)
Quinoa + salads = not usually my thing, but I made this one my thing by adding goat cheese and pistachios and a new grown-up thing I’m having a phase with — BEETS. But I feel like a traitor for finally coming around, so I don’t really want to talk about that anymore.
I do want to talk about the fact that this is a quinoa salad that really reminds me of a combination of a chopped salad and a spa salad. Just to be clear, I don’t really know what a spa salad is, but in my mind that dreams of spas, it’s a beets/goat cheese/other veggies plate-o-glory. On second thought, that might just be because they serve a salad like that at one of my favorite restaurants and it’s called the Spa Salad. Does that count?
So whatever kind of thing this is, it’s delicious.
It’s loaded with bright green spinach, crispy bites of apple, juicy bursts of pomegranate, crunchy pistachio pieces, creamy-smooth goat cheese with just a little bite from the pickled beets if you’re brave enough for that sort of adult eating. It’s a plate (or MASON JAR) full of healthful, nutritious ingredients that give you tons of winter glow and plant power. Because, umm, yeah, that’s a real thing.
Carry on, Winter Warriors! with a Winter Rainbow Quinoa Salad to power you through.
This Rainbow Quinoa Salad is packed with colorful, nutritious ingredients! Works perfect to make ahead in Mason jars for easy lunches.
- 2 cups cooked red quinoa
- 2 cups chopped pickled or regular cooked beets
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 cup crushed or chopped pistachios
- 2 cups chopped Opal apples
- 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
- a handful of green onions or fresh herbs if you want
- dressing of choice (see notes)
- For Mason jar salads, layer in order: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup beets, 1/4 cup pomegranate arils, 1 ounce goat cheese, 2 tablespoons pistachios, herbs, 1/2 cup apples, and 1/2 cup spinach. Store in the fridge for as long as 4-5 days. When ready to serve, toss with the dressing.
- If not making in Mason jars, toss everything together and serve immediately. I also recommend saving some pomegranate arils, crushed pistachios, and crumbled goat cheese to make it look pretty on top. 😀
I used a store-bought Champagne vinaigrette which was so, so delicious with all the salty-sweet-crunchiness in this salad. That being said, there are so many flavors and textures here that just a little olive oil and balsamic would be light and perfect.
Thanks to Opal apples, my favoritest of all the apples, for sponsoring this Winter Rainbow Quinoa Salad!
One More Thing!
This recipe is part of our collection of best healthy vegetarian recipes. Check it out!