Once you try this summer-y tasting Quinoa Berry Salad with a hint of warming spices, you’ll want to have it as part of your salad rotation all year long.
From my conversations with clients, I have realized that some people have little to no experience cooking and preparing quinoa, so let’s start with some facts about this nutrient dense superfood.
Facts about quinoa
- It is pronounced KEEN-wah.
- Quinoa was originally grown in the Andes mountains of South America thousands of years ago
- It has been grown here in Canada, in Saskatchewan, for almost 30 years.
- It is technically an edible seed even though it is referred to as a whole grain. It is often called a pseudograin or psuedocereal (a seed that acts like a cereal and a grain).
- Quinoa plants grow to more than a metre tall and have dense flowering buds.
- After flowering the seeds dry on the stalk before being harvested.
- Quinoa contains saponin, which is a natural pest deterrent. Saponins are removed as part of commercial processing. The name saponin comes from the fact that the seeds create a lather like soap buds when they are rinsed.
- Fun fact: people who grow their own quinoa can remove the saponins by “washing” it in water in a blender or even out some quinoa in a cotton bag or pillow case and run it through the cold water cycle of your washing machine.
Nutritional benefits of quinoa
- gluten free, so is a great choice for people who are allergic to gluten containing grains or are not able to tolerate gluten for other reasons
- one of the few plant based foods that is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. Once cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams protein
- Has a low glycemic index, making it a good choice to support blood sugar management
- Is a good source of dietary fibre.
- Contains the antioxidant quercetin, that provides anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
Other nutrient dense foods in this salad
- In addition to quinoa, the berries are rich in antioxidants and contain loads of fibre, vitamin C and manganese.
- Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, B vitamins including folate, calcium and iron.
- Almonds and pumpkin seeds are both a great source of vitamin E to protect cells from oxidative damage. So now let’s get to it!
How to make the salad
- Cook the Quinoa
- Make the dressing
- Assemble the salad
For other quinoa recipes you may want to try cooked quinoa in Quinoa, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad or Double Chocolate Quinoa Cookies that are made using uncooked quinoa flakes.
If you try this Quinoa Berry Salad, I’d love to hear what you think or, if you make any changes, what you do differently. Leave a comment and rate it below.
Be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can see your Quinoa Berry Salad.
Quinoa Berry Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup berries of your choice
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon mint or more to taste preference, finely chopped
- ¼ cup almonds chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- nutmeg freshly grated (or dash of powdered nutmeg)
- In a medium saucepan, bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, 13-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake.
- Add cooled quinoa and remaining salad ingredients to a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Top with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve chilled or at room temperature.