Now that we are firmly installed in a new year, I’ll admit that one of my big concerns is getting my health back on an even keel. I have been working hard since the beginning of January to take care of my own personal health issues, including the chronic GERD that I deal with, as well as losing the significant amount of weight I’ve put on over the last few years.
Healthy eating can sometimes make us crazy, and it can seem like there’s no real delicious ways to get our proper nutrition in. But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been learning that there are some really amazing tasting food that is healthy, filling and delicious! Perhaps one of my very favorites is this Healthy Quinoa Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing. It’s vegetarian, or you can add some chicken or shrimp or even egg to up the protein a bit.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Salad (makes 2-3 servings)
2 cups mixed greens
½ cup cooked quinoa
⅓ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts
5-6 cherry tomatoes
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp italian seasoning
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs plain Greek yogurt
Pepper to taste
To begin, prepare your quinoa by combining 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot. You can also use chicken or vegetable stock to cook it, and each brings its own delicious flavor. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Cook with a cover on for 15 minutes. Set it aside.
In a large bowl, start with a bed of mixed greens. This salad can be made with any type of greens you would like. I sometimes use plain spinach, but my favorite is Italian Style Mixed Greens.
Top with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa.
Next, add layers of shredded carrots and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on some walnuts and cherry tomatoes. Add anything you like. I sometimes chop up some green peppers or cucumbers for a bit of extra crunch.
Next, you’ll want to create your balsamic dressing. Simply add all ingredients into a bowl or glass jar. Whisk them together or shake it up to combine. Chill it in the fridge, and make sure you shake it up each time you use it.
Pour your dressing over the top of your salad.
Quinoa is a known superfood. It dates back nearly 4,000 years to when the Incas first found that it was safe for human consumption. They believed it increased the stamina of their warriors. And it’s easy to see why!
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods you can eat! It contains ALL NINE essential amino acids. It also contains nearly twice as much fiber as other grains. This is great for keeping you “regular” and keeping your glucose levels even. It contains iron, which keeps us healthy and helps maintain brain function and energy.
Quinoa also contains lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. It is rich in magnesium, which can help with migraines, promote healthy blood sugar control, aid in detox, and give you loads of energy!
It is also chock full of B2, which improves energy metabolism!
Finally, quinoa has a high content of manganese, which is an antioxidant. Basically, it’s one of the best foods you can eat to promote health and wellness!
So dig in! Grab your favorite salad fixings and make yourself a beautiful bowl of delicious health!
Don’t forget to check out this amazing quinoa salad recipe, featuring mango! It’s another one that’s out of this world!