Thursday, July 13, 2017

Strawberry, Quinoa & Cashew Salad

This salad just screams summer to me! When I made this last week, my family enjoyed it with some Italian Sausages on the barbecue - it was sooo good! The Bean has loved lending a hand in the kitchen this summer, but all she wants to do is stir!! She was thoroughly unimpressed with this salad, because there is very little stirring to be done! I was worried she wouldn't eat the salad (she tends to be less willing to try if she isn't involved in the process!) but she loved the salad! This got rave reviews all around!

I found the recipe on Julia's Album, you can find it HERE. I swapped out the peaches for Nectarine (an intentional change) and used much less spinach than called for (an unintentional change), but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly!

I mixed the dressing up in a mason jar and I highly recommend this! It is so easy to shake it all together. However, if you prefer, you could whisk the dressing together in a glass measuring dish.

Mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil, 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and a little salt and pepper.

Once your dressing is mixed, stick it in the fridge until you are ready to mix it into the salad later on.
Cook 3/4 cup of dry quinoa (to end up with 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa) by following the instructions on the package that your quinoa comes in. Once the quinoa is cooked, set it aside and let it cool while you are working on the rest of the salad.

Coking quinoa can be tricky! You can find so much useful information about quinoa HERE.
I mentioned above that I did not use enough spinach. In fact, I used way too little spinach! I read the recipe over quickly and read 10 oz of spinach. I did a quick little calculation in my head to figure out that 10 oz of spinach = 1 1/4 cups of spinach. Well, since looking at the recipe again, I've noticed that it says 10 oz of spinach and later 10 cups of spinach, so I am all kinds of confused!

I used about 1 1/4 cups of spinach and the salad was great! In the future, I might add a little more spinach, but 10 cups seems a little crazy to me!
Chop up 2 washed nectarines (or peaches) then add them to the salad along with 4 chopped green onions.
Wash, hull and slice 4 cups of strawberries before adding them to the salad. Wash 1 red bell pepper and chop it into bite sized pieces then add it to the salad. Once the quinoa is cooled, mix it into the salad as well.

You could add 1/3 cup of cashews at this point. I chose not to because the Bean does not want anything to do with a cashew! I put a little dish of cashews on the table to use if people wanted.
Pour the dressing over the salad - I only needed about 3/4 of the salad dressing. Then you are ready to serve! I typically mix my salads together in a large mixing bowl and once they are tossed, I transfer them to a prettier looking salad bowl.
In the past, we've eaten this salad as a main meal, but sometimes we have it with a side of grilled chicken or Italian Sausages.

serves 4-6 people

for the salad dressing...
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper - to taste :)

for the salad...
10 oz (1 1/4 cups) of fresh spinach (or 10 cups! The jury is still out on this one! I recommend about 4 cups of spinach)
3/4 cup dry quinoa (cooked to make 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa)
2 Nectarines, chopped (or peaches)
4 green onions, chopped
4 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup cashews

1. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a glass measuring dish or shake them together in a mason jar.
2. Cook the quinoa following the instructions on the package. Once it's cooked, set it aside to cool before adding it to the salad.
3. Add the spinach to a large mixing bowl.
4. Wash and cut up the nectarines, green onions, strawberries and red pepper before adding them to the salad.
5. Mix in the cashews and the cooled quinoa.
6. Toss the salad together with the salad dressing before transferring the salad to a salad bowl. Then, it is ready to serve!


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