A true flavour sensation with layers of texture and flavor, this quinoa spinach salad with apple and cranberries is anything but boring. It’s easy to prepare, quick to make and tastes so delicious you’ll barely believe it’s good for you.
Loaded with nutrients
The backbone of this amazing quinoa salad is spinach, one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet. (If you’re into spinach, you’ve got to try these bite size pieces of deliciousness for breakfast.) This leafy green has loads of superpowers, including:
- Reducing stress on the cardiovascular system to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels
- A lot of plant-based protein to boost your metabolism
- High in glycoglycerolipids which strengthen the lining of the digestive tract and prevent inflammation.
Things get even better when you look at the toppings for this quinoa spinach salad. Cranberries contain huge amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which do everything from decreasing inflammation of the arterial walls to lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Apples encompass a lot of soluble fibre which helps to avoid diabetes, quinoa has high levels of lysine which is essential for tissue repair and flax seeds have a great number of lignans which have anti-viral properties, helping you overcome common illnesses, like colds, more easily.
With so many incredible health benefits in one dish, you won’t want to eat anything else!
Loaded with flavor
Salads have a bit of a bad reputation, but, just like this zesty chickpea salad, this quinoa spinach salad turns everything upside down. The sweetness of the apple perfectly balances the tartness of the cranberries. The earthiness of the quinoa is complemented by the mineral qualities of spinach. The butteriness of the almonds is cut through by the zestiness of the lemon.
Everything is so perfectly balanced and in harmony that it’s almost impossible not to like this quinoa salad! But the flavors aren’t the only thing going on. The thing that converts most salad haters into total salad lovers is all the different textures.
Textures, textures, textures
The worst salads have the same texture all the way through, where each new mouthful is identical to the last. The best salads are loaded with all kinds of different textures, so each mouthful is a surprise. This quinoa spinach salad is definitely the second type of salad.
Bursting quinoa pearls, crunchy apple chunks, soft dried cranberries and crisp spinach leaves make every bite of this quinoa salad an absolute treat to eat. Because it’s so complex, you can easily eat this salad all on its own and not feel deprived.
Not only is this quinoa spinach salad incredibly good for you, loaded with amazing flavors and bursting with wonderful textures, but it’s also entirely free from any animal products. That’s right, this vegan quinoa salad contains no eggs, dairy products or meat. It’s totally plant-based and perfect for anyone following a vegan diet.
But just because this quinoa salad is vegan doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. You can easily spice it up a bit and add some non-vegan ingredients, or serve it up as a side dish to your favorite protein for dinner. Here are a few ideas of how you can make this salad even better.
What to serve with this quinoa spinach salad
- 30-Minute Pork Fajitas — This salad is a much more fun alternative to regular old rice.
- Bacon & Mushroom Quiche — The earthy notes in the mushrooms work so well with the quinoa salad.
- Caribbean Pork with Pineapple Salsa — Again, this salad is a great substitute for the wild rice.
- Baked Zucchini Fries — These two would pair so well together at a picnic or buffet.
But really, this healthy quinoa salad will work well as a side dish to absolutely anything. A fillet of grilled salmon, some marinated tofu, steak skewers…whatever type of protein you love, serve this salad up with it and you’re onto a winner.
Things to add to this quinoa salad
Like I said, you don’t have to serve this healthy quinoa salad up as a side dish. You can totally serve it up on its own — that’s how good it is. Here are some ways to liven up this dish so you can dig in all week.
- Feta cheese
- Shredded chicken
- Sundried tomatoes
- Avocado chunks
- Balsamic dressing
How to serve and store this salad
The best way to serve this quinoa spinach salad is immediately after you’ve made it. This way the spinach leaves are still crisp, the apple chunks are still crunchy and the almonds still have that wonderful bite to them. But if you don’t have the time or resources to make this salad as soon as you want to eat it, you can prep it in advance.
Follow the instructions down below, then seal the salad in an air-tight container. The lemon juice will help the apples stay crisp and white. You can store the quinoa salad in the fridge for up to 4 days. Because it contains fresh veggies, I don’t suggest freezing it.
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 apple
- 12 almonds
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
Place the quinoa and stock into a small saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil then pop a lid on the saucepan, reduce the heat to low and leave the quinoa to cook for 20 minutes, until it’s absorbed all the liquid and has become fluffy.
While the quinoa is cooking, roughly chop the spinach, apple, almonds and dried cranberries and place them into a large salad bowl.
When cooked, scoop the quinoa into the salad bowl and sprinkle over the flax seeds and lemon juice.
Toss everything together thoroughly and serve.