Thursday, January 16

Green Salad with Crispy Quinoa & Pomegranate

Simple greens are topped with crispy quinoa, crunchy hazelnuts, and juicy pom seeds

Green Salad with Crispy Quinoa and Pomegranate

Salad recipes are not my strong suit. We eat a simple green salad most nights a week, but it's generally an afterthought. My go-to lemon-shallot vinaigrette gets tossed with whatever greens we have on hand, a sprinkle of parmesan, and maybe a handful of croutons if I'm really planning ahead. It's tasty, and healthy, and never requires a trip to the store, which allows me to focus most of my cooking time on a show-stopping main course.

One of the changes we're making on our healthy eating cleanse is to focus more on the nutrient-packed side dishes and less on the (generally meat- or pasta-centric) main course - which is why I finally got around to trying this salad from Sprouted Kitchen that has been on my list for about a year. It's a fairly basic recipe with a few exciting twists that makes it stand out: a slightly-creamy lemon yogurt dressing, two types of winter lettuce, nuts, fruit, and crispy quinoa. The key is lots of crunch from the crispy grain, chopped hazelnuts, and juicy pomegranate seeds. My husband fell in love with the yogurt dressing (I personally prefer mine to be a little more acidic and savory) and took the generous leftover amount to work to use on salad bar salads all week. My favorite part was the crispy quinoa, which is a genius way to use up any leftover quinoa you might have in the house and is going to become a standard topping in the future. Just beware of the crispy-chewy crunch - a piece got lodged in between my teeth and I frantically tried flossing it out for the next ten minutes.

Related Recipes:

Butter Lettuce & Arugula Salad with Crispy Quinoa, Pomegranate Seeds, & Hazelnuts:
For Dressing
  • Whisk together 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/3 c. Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. dried Italian herbs, 1 tsp. salt, and a large pinch of pepper until smooth.
  • Slowly whisk in 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and check for seasoning.
  • Set aside. Dressing can also keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.
For Salad
  • Simmer 1/2 c. quinoa with 3/4 c. salted water for 15 minutes, or until tender and all the water is absorbed.*
  • Heat 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil** in a skillet until very hot and add in the cooked quinoa.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa pops and sizzles and turns crispy, about 5 minutes. LEt cool in the pan.
  • Remove the core from 1 head of butter lettuce and tear the leaves into large pieces.
  • Toss the butter lettuce and a few cups of baby arugula with some of the dressing and a little freshly cracked pepper and then mound onto a plate.
  • Sprinkle the crispy quinoa on top, along with 1/2 c. chopped toasted hazelnuts and the 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Serves two (light meal)
Serves four (side dish)

*Quinoa needs to be very dry or it will not get crispy. This is also a great way to use leftover cooked quinoa.
**Or any other oil you like.