Spinach and Quinoa Salad with Toasted Cashews and Dried Cranberries
This protein-packed vegan salad makes a great dinner on a hot summer night, and is a wonderful packed lunch for work and your kids heading back to school.
This salad is one of our absolute favorite vegan meals. The star of the show is quinoa, an ancient grain that is gluten-free and packed with nutrition. Quinoa is one of the only plant foods that's a complete protein, offering all of the essential amino acids, and in fact, protein makes up about 60% of the grain. Quinoa is high in fiber and protein and helps you to feel full longer, and has been shown to be useful in reducing the risk for diabetes.
The salad also features healthy spinach, and good fats from cashews and olive oil. I have found that this salad can be prepared in advance, including the dressing, and remains fresh for at least 3-4 days in the fridge.
1 cup dry quinoa (yeilds 2 cups cooked)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 oz baby spinach (approximately 6 cups), sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup green onion, dark and light green parts, thinly sliced (approximately 4 green onions)
1 TBS dried mint leaves
1 tsp dried dill
1 cup cashews, lightly toasted, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa prior to cooking. Cook according to package directions, up to 2 days in advance
2. In a glass jar with a lid, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and dill. Shake vigorously to combine.
3. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Stir in the coked quinoa and the dressing, stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 4 days.
6 servings, 1 1/2 cups each