Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry, Quinoa, and Spinach Salad

Oh my.  My brother graduated from high school yesterday and my family and I went out for dinner at Buca di Beppo afterwards to celebrate.  It was tons of fun.  The food was great and the company was even better.  I had a great time, but I ate way too much.  Since being on summer vacation I have been spending a lot of time catching up with friends and family and eating like I am on vacation.  I have still been working out and completing my half-marathon training, but I have not been eating in the most healthy of ways.

From sushi with friends...

to giant skillet (whole grain at least) cookies...

I used THIS recipe with whole wheat flour and dark chocolate chips
to crazy family-style Italian...

The Brownie Sundae!

I have had amazing foods, but now I am feeling a little unhealthy.

Since starting college, I have lost almost 25 pounds.  I am very proud of the changes I have made in my life.  I have learned a lot about how to eat healthy and I have adopted all sorts of exercise schedules.  I love food and so I still eat what I want, but I am way more aware of portion sizes and eating a balanced diet.  Plus, running has helped a lot, both with becoming healthy, and de-stressing.

Now that summer is here, I have been a little off track in terms of staying healthy, but that is all going to change starting now! This morning I did pilates with my mom and then ran a quick 5K with my brother.  For breakfast: oatmeal, orange juice, and some coffee.  My post-work out snack: an apple with a little peanut butter.  And, for lunch: leftover Strawberry Quinoa and Spinach Salad.

I made this salad for the Memorial Day dinner that we had at my house and now I still have the leftovers.  This salad is healthy, hearty, and absolutely delicious.  Plus, it's gluten free! It's a great way to get some veggies in, but it tastes so good that I don't even feel like I'm being that healthy! I'm excited to get back on track with being my normally healthy self and even more excited to go enjoy this salad! Yum!

Strawberry, Quinoa, and Spinach Salad (adapted from Cookie and Kate)

For the salad:
3 cups baby spinach
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (cook according to instructions on box)
3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
3/4 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecan pieces
salt and pepper
For the dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp real maple syrup
1 tsp shallot, chopped

1. Make the quinoa and set aside.
2. Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.  Add more balsamic for a tarter dressing and more maple syrup for a sweeter dressing.
3. Toast the pecans: place pecans in a pan on the stove and heat pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until pecans are fragrant.
4. In a large bowl, toss the warm quinoa with the goat cheese and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the pecans. Next toss in the spinach and strawberries and finally, toss in the dressing.
Enjoy :)


  1. This looks and sounds amazing! I've never seen this salad with quinoa in it! YUM! I can't wait to try it!

    1. I love that the quinoa really turns it into a hearty meal! It's so tasty and healthy!

  2. WOW! Love all the ingredients in the salad especially the quinoa!

    1. Thanks! I don't typically use a ton of quinoa but I am quickly falling in love with it!

  3. I still have note tried quinoa, but this salad is making want to try it tonight!!!

  4. I don't know why, but the sushi pics at the top, plus the salad, got me thinking about combining the two.'ve got my wheels spinning. :)

    1. Hmm...that does sound fascinating...have you made anything with all of that?

  5. I've never had quinoa, but this looks so good I'm going to try it. Found you over on Walking on Sunshine's linky party.

  6. Thanks for sharing this on Foodie Friends Friday. I use quinoa often and enjoy it cold as well as hot. I'll have to try this recipe with the pecans and strawberries, a few of my favorite 'things'.

    Joanne/Winelady Cooks