Saturday, June 23, 2012

Quinoa Taco Salad

If you know me well, you know I love spinach and I eat a LOT of it!  Lately, I've been getting a little tired of my usual mixed vegetable and spinach salad so I've been switching out the peppers and broccoli for strawberries and blueberries and tossing them with this amazingly delicious balsamic vinaigrette!  A little dressing goes a long way and you have yourself a fresh, light summer salad.  ...And then you find yourself starving an hour later.

Well, this salad satisfied my spinach needs and filled me up!  It may have been because I ate enough to serve 3 people, but isn't that what we do when we eat burritos the size of our heads at Chipotle!?  This salad is my slightly healthier spin on a Chipotle burrito bowl, and in my book salad is unlimited, so dig in and enjoy!

Note: this recipe will likely be enough to serve two people with average sized appetites (I don't include myself in that category), but obviously you can use more or less of any of these toppings!

1/4 cup quinoa (this will be 1 cup cooked)
1 packet taco seasoning
4 cups spinach
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained 
Guacamole (homemade or storebought)
Reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of quinoa (my favorite is Bob's Red Mill brand, it's pretty inexpensive at Trader Joe's!) with 1/2 cup of water and about half a packet of taco seasoning.  Heat on medium/high until boiling, then reduce heat and cover for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can prepare your other salad fix-ins.  I remove the stems from the spinach and chiffonade them as if they were basil.  

To layer the salad, split the ingredients into two bowls so each one ends up with:
2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup black beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes, a spoonful of guacamole and a handful of cheese!