I like quinoa but I don’t love it. So when I find a recipe I enjoy I tend to make it over and over again. My favorite is this summer recipe for Quinoa with Arugula and Peaches but since it’s winter now I no longer have fresh peaches in season.
The other day I was dreaming of this salad and thought of trying it out with some fresh pears I had on hand. I didn’t have arugula so switched it out for kale. The result was even better, in my opinion, than the summer salad. Something magical happens with pears and goat cheese. The sweet flavor of the pears and creaminess of the goat cheese balances out the bitter of the kale and quinoa. Adding toasted walnuts? Oh my. You can probably use several different types of vinaigrette with this recipe but I like using this Balsamic and Honey Mustard Dressing.
For easy meals, I make a pot of quinoa on Sunday so I have it ready to create some healthy and tasty lunches or a dinner side during the week. Quinoa provides a complete protein unlike other grains making it a great vegetarian meal for your next meatless Monday dinner. This salad is also high in fiber and an assortment of phytochemicals found in the variety of plant foods.
Give this recipe a try, it is really something special.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 kale leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 fresh pears, diced
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Balsamic Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (see link to recipe above)
- ¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
- 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium pot. Add the quinoa and toast until it turns a darker brown and you can smell the toasty aroma. Add stock and cook according to package directions.
- Remove cooked quinoa from the pan into 4 serving bowls and let completely cool.
- Once cooled, add the kale and pears; toss with a small amount of dressing. Very little dressing is needed so start with a teaspoon or two to each bowl.
- Sprinkle with walnuts and goat cheese and adjust dressing to taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
Meri Raffetto is the founder of Real Living Nutrition, triplet mom and author of the Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies and coauthor of the Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies, and Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies.