Monday, January 9, 2012

Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas

Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas

Picture of Quinoa SaladIf you're looking for a fresh idea to liven up your ho-hum salad plate, Babycakes, have I got a recipe for you. Light, vegan, and packed with protein, this is no ordinary bunny food. It's got teeth- er, I mean, quinoa. This salad is studded with nutty, buttery chick peas, crunchy toasted pecans and succulent jewels of ripe, juicy pears. And did I mention, in a bowl licking maple vinaigrette? In fact, this is a salad even salad haters would eat. You know, those stalwart ‘gotta have my meat and potatoes’ aficionados who eschew anything leafy. Who snicker at fiber and mock carrot sticks. The sort of individual who gets misty eyed for melted butter and bacon martinis. To said individuals, salad could never be anything but rabbit chow.
But this lovely mélange of flavors just might pique their interest. The sheer luxurious deliciousness of these autumnal flavors might coax them into flirting with bunny food goodness- just this once. Then- who knows what could happen? They might settle in, fork poised, all dubious and dreaming of rib eye. They might take a bite. And then another. And before you can say blueberry pancakes on a stick- they might actually smack their lips and grin and hold out their empty plate for more.
A tip for those new to quinoa- it adds protein and heft to simple green salads- and is perfect for lunch or a light supper.
Use pears or apples in this recipe- either one will work.


1 cup organic quinoa
Sea salt
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


First cook your quinoa. Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.
Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the quinoa and fluff.
Whisk together the virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.
Season the dish to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.
Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.
This recipe makes four main course servings, six side dish servings.
Note from Karina: If you are making this salad ahead of time, I suggest you make the quinoa, fluff, and add the dressing while it is warm. When it cools to room temperature, add in the spinach, chick peas and parsley; toss, cover and chill. Before serving add the pears, and toasted pecans. Taste test and add more seasoning if needed.

Some folks like a dab of Dijon mustard in their vinaigrette- I don't, especially. But if you love a mustard-y flavor spike, add a teaspoon of Dijon to the salad dressing. Just don't make it too strong- it may overpower the pears.
I prefer salads lightly dressed. But if you prefer more dressing, or find that your quinoa and spinach needs a bit more dressing, double the vinaigrette recipe.
Total Servings: 6

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 246
Carbohydrates: 7.7g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Fat: 10.9g
Saturated Fat: 1.5g
Fiber: 3.7g
Sodium: 119mg
Protein: 5.2g
Credit: From
WebMD Recipe from For more recipes go to

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