A cheerful salad for any time of year, but I love the red sun-dried tomatoes against the bright green, fresh baby spinach for a healthy holiday time dish.
If you like and have walnuts please toss some in. I ran out and had to use toasted, sliced almonds which were great, but I made this salad for a dinner party a few weeks ago and the combination of toasted walnuts and crunchy turkey bacon was out of this world. It got wild reviews and I’ve made it a couple times since then. Sun-dried tomatoes are a beautiful ingredient. My husband jokes the intoxicating element makes any recipe better, they’re like bacon, you can put them in anything and he’ll eat it.
Easily made ahead side, store in fridge and top with bacon, cheese and nuts before serving. I served this salad at the dinner party I mentioned alongside Lemon-Herb Roast Chicken (made without potatoes and carrots in crock pot), Roasted Garlic Broccoli and for dessert Easy Berry Crisp (but substituted chopped apples with a little applesauce for berries). Delicious!
My current go-to weeknight and entertaining salad. Gluten and dairy free options below.
SUN-DRIED TOMATO QUINOA SPINACH SALAD
gluten & dairy free option
• 1 small ONION, chopped
• 3 cloves GARLIC, minced
• 3 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN (divided)
• JUICE OF 1/2 LEMON
• 3/4 tsp ITALIAN SEASONING, DRIED
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
• 1 cup QUINOA, rinsed, drained
• 1/2 cup WHITE WINE (or extra broth)
• 1 1/4 cup VEGETABLE or CHICKEN BROTH, low sodium*
• 3.5 oz SUN DRIED TOMATOES, chopped
• 4 oz FRESH BABY SPINACH
• 1/4 cup WALNUTS or ALMONDS, chopped
• 8 slices LEAN TURKEY BACON, cooked, crumbled*
• 1/4 cup FRESH PARMESAN CHEESE, shredded**
*Gluten Free Option: Use GF turkey bacon and vegetable broth.
**Dairy Free Option: Omit Parmesan cheese.
1. In a large skillet (use one with a lid) sauté onion in 1 T. olive oil with garlic, sea salt and pepper for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat until softened, pour 1/2 cup white wine into pan (I used Chardonnay but any dry white will do or broth). De-glaze pan with onions until wine is reduced. Add quinoa and toast with onions and wine, stirring frequently, until completely absorbed (about 2-3 minutes).
2. Add 1 1/4 cups broth to skillet; stir, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
3. While quinoa cooks combine sun dried tomatoes, remaining 2 T. olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning and spinach in a large bowl. Add cooked quinoa (while still warm), toss to coat. If serving cold refrigerate until ready to serve, skip to step 4 if serving warm.
4. Top salad with cooked and crumbled turkey bacon, toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese before serving. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Serving size, about 2/3 cup.
NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 180 calories, 10g fat, 2g sat fat, 15mg cholesterol, 18g carb, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 6g protein