This is a fusion of spinach salad and quinoa salad, with an equal balance of the greens and the grains. The dressing is a super simple mixture of lime and lemon juice, with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. A drizzle of honey is entirely optional, but a very nice addition to the dressing. Pecans, sliced pears, scallions and red onion add crunch and color. If you are serving this with a dairy meal, crumbled feta cheese is a delicious topping.
The spinach doesn’t get so soggy, so you can take leftovers to work the next day.
I made this for Shavuoth and served it along with a do-it-yourself salad bar, a cheese platter, roast salmon, yellow rice, stuffed shells and eggplant parmesan. Dessert was fresh fruit, plus low-fat cheesecake and regular cheesecake.
Spinach Quinoa Salad with Pears, Pecans and Fat-Free Lemon Lime Dressing
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces baby spinach
1 red pear, halved, cored, sliced thinly
1 green pear, halved, cored, sliced thinly
1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste (about 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper)
1/2 tsp. honey, optional
3 scallions, sliced (you could use more red onion instead of scallion)
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly (you could use more scallion instead of red onion)
1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts, or toasted almond slices–they all work well here)1/2 cup crumbled feta, optional
Make the quinoa by cooking it in the water, with the minced garlic, for about 15 minutes in a covered pot, or until tender. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon and a whole lime over the cooked quinoa and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside the cooked quinoa to cool.
When the quinoa is cool, combine it in a salad bowl with the spinach, pears, onion, scallion, pecans (and feta, if using). Add the remaining lime and lemon juice, the honey and some salt and pepper. Toss the salad well to combine everything and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Note: if you don’t need the dressing to be fat-free, add 2-3 Tbl. olive oil. The Citrus Honey Dijon Fat-Free Dressing is also nice drizzled on top.