This red quinoa spinach and avocado salad came at the most perfect time as I’ve become very stagnant with my lunch choices. I like to rotate a variety of lunch options to keep things exciting when I meal prep on Sundays, but I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve lost my momentum.
Here is a peak to what I’ve been eating on most days.
arugula salad with a sweet potato on the side, baked chicken and brussel sprouts or leftovers from the night before.
These lunch options are very healthy but after two months of the same thing it was time to step it up and get out of my rut.
Feeling inspired over the weekend and this tasty number came about….
Red Quinoa Spinach and Avocado salad with a lemon-mustard dressing that is full of flavor.
simple and savory
earth tone flavors from the red quinoa, spinach and avocado
nice added crunch from the refreshing cucumber and red bell pepper
chewy pumpkin seeds
lemon and olive oil dressing with just enough dijon mustard to give it that punch
Before I get to the salad lets chat about the Superfood Quinoa for a second.
Did you know that quinoa was gluten free and not a grain or cereal?? Quinoa belongs to the family of spinach, chard, and beets.
Crazy, right? I had no idea and assumed it was some sort of grain since the cooking preparation is the same as rice.
Some Benefits of the Superfood Red Quinoa
- Contains all the nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce so making it a complete protein rich food.
- High in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various antioxidants.
- Has twice the amount of fiber than most grains.
Okay, back to the salad.
Star ingredients: red quinoa, spinach, red onion, red bell pepper, cucumber, avocado and pumpkin seeds
First step is to prepare the quinoa. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan on medium heat then add quinoa and red onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking lets make the dressing.
Dressing Includes: freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic and s&p
Whisk all the ingredients together and place to the side.
When the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat, uncover and let cool for 15 minutes.
Next add the dressing, cucumber and red bell pepper to the quinoa and mix.
Combine the quinoa mixture to the spinach. (the quinoa should be cool by now to not completely wilt the spinach)
Gently stir in the avocado and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds.
Add a little salt and pepper for tasting, if necessary.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
For extra protein, a few hard boiled eggs and even crumbled goat cheese goes well on top.
This dish will definitely be included in my lunch rotation going forward. Also great for a potluck or picnic.
Quinoa Spinach and Avocado Reset Salad
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 1/2 medium red onion chopped
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cucumber chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
- 5 oz bag or 3.5 big handfuls of baby spinach
- 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds
- 1 avocado cubed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- splash of water
- Rinse the uncooked red quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water.
- In a saucepan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat then add the onions and quinoa. Cook for five minutes.
- Add water, stir and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, uncover and let sit for 15 minutes to cool.
- Make the dressing while the quinoa and onions are cooking.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and place to the side.
Build the Salad:
- Once the quinoa is done cooking and cooled, add the red bell peppers and cucumbers.
- Pour all the dressing on top of the quinoa mixture and combine.
- Combine quinoa mixture to the spinach and mix.
- Gently toss in the avocado and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Hard boiled eggs and crumbled goat cheese is a perfect addition if you want a little more protein.
- Salad to be covered and refrigerated and will keep well for several days.