This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
There’s a lot of talk about superfoods nowadays and how certain foods are packed with vitamins and minerals. This salad is my stab at throwing all the good stuff in one bowl and making dinner out of it. “Good-for-you” is a fine goal, but delicious… now that’s what I’m talking about.
Staying healthy is not only a matter of physical exercise but also of exercising good eating habits, which doesn’t sound like a lot of fun for your taste buds. Contrary to popular belief, developing good eating habits doesn’t have to be tasteless or time consuming when you can whip up a healthy and delicious meal as easily as this. The base of this dinner-in-a-bowl is not a grain but a seed called quinoa (keen-wah). According to the Whole Grains Council, quinoa is a gluten-free, whole-grain carbohydrate as well as a whole protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories, 39 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar. But that’s not all, it’s also loaded with magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper and iron which pretty much qualifies quinoa as one of the healthiest pseudo-grains along with buckwheat and amaranth.
I’ve added rich and creamy avocado to the mix which contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and is virtually the only fruit that contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat – good fat! Then there are the blueberries; anthocyanin, the antioxidant that gives blueberries their color, contains powerful inflammation-fighting and cell-protecting properties. Let’s not forget that the sweet-tart mango addition is not only delicious but contributes up to 67% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamin C. Lemon juice (more vitamin C), olive oil (heart health), arugula (vitamin K), almonds (vitamin E) and a sprinkle of feta cheese (calcium) round out this salad’s flavor and healthful properties.
I love how the blueberries pop, the almonds crunch and the avocado adds a creaminess that blends with the nutty quinoa tinged with lemon and salty cheese. It makes a perfect lunch and with the addition of a small fish filet. Mission accomplished. Good for you never tasted so good!
Quinoa Salad with Blueberry, Avocado, Mango and Feta
Start-to-Finish; 45 minutes
Hands-on Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 cup Heinen’s Tri Color Quinoa, white quinoa or red quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, about 3 Tbsp.
- 1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups arugula, chopped
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- Two 6 oz. packs blueberries, rinsed
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Heat a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for two minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the quinoa and stir to coat the grains with the fat in the pan. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook the quinoa at a bare simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. It should be dry and fluffy.
- While the quinoa cooks, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, a few grinds of pepper and the remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large bowl. Chop the arugula, dice the mango and avocado and toast the almonds.
- Transfer the hot quinoa to the bowl with the dressing and stir to blend evenly. Allow the grains to soak up the dressing and cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the arugula, mango, avocado, almonds and blueberries. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, lemon or olive oil, if needed
- Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.
Extra hungry? Grate or chop a hardboiled egg or two into the salad.
In the glass: Look for a bottle of crisp, fruity Sauvignon Blanc from Frogs Leap.