Skinny Mexican Quinoa Spinach Salad
I love vacation! But I hate getting back into a routine. I've been away in Arizona for a week and a half having a blast. I went from spending time with my cousin in blazing hot Phoenix, to eating dehydrated food out of a bag at a Grand Canyon camp ground, and hiking all over the place.
Fast forward one jetlagged ride later and I almost immediately rolled back into 9 hour long a day workweek at a professional development. Summer please! Not fractions. Not that I don't love fractions. I love them to pieces *ba dum ching!* I just had no time to go from plane to home to waking up early when my body was still back in Arizona time.
the first thing I made for lunches was a crockpot chowder that was delicious but not blog level attractive as it looked like sludge. So it was consumed with a happy face but no post. But the second lunch I made, a quinoa salad with partially wilted spinach was totally worth a share.
I'm going to take a moment to complain that I put a pic of this up on instagram and I picked a blurry f-ing picture... *palm to face*. I was going to take the whole post down and start again but decided not to. The other two pictures in the post were fine and I just needed to move on.
This recipe is super simple and could be made in a few varieties.
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/3 cups sweet corn kernels
- 1/4 red onion
- 1 1/2 cups (1 can) pinto beans
- 1 green pepper
- 8 oz grape tomatoes
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/2 lime for juicing
Step 1: Cook quinoa to package directions. Make sure it's really all the way cooked through because no one wants chewy quinoa. I put the water on to boil as I completed the next steps for efficiency.
Step 2: Dice onion extremely fine and toss in bowl. Drain pinto beans and defrost corn and add to bowl. Cut grape (or cherry) tomatoes in half, remove seeds from pepper and coarsely dice into same sized pieces, and finely chop herbs to add. Squeeze lime over ingredients.
Step 3: When quinoa is done cooking, pour over top of veggies and then quickly add in spinach while quinoa is still hot. It will partially wilt the spinach but won't make it mush at all. It's a great middle ground.
After these are all mixed together you can do a few different options.
I made mine a 'Taco' theme by adding the following:
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbs chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 Tbs smoked salt
Quinoa salads are a versatile animal that pack plenty of protein, carbs, and fiber into easy to make lunches. I am kind of intrigued by making a sweet potato one with a harissa dressing. Keep checking to see if I actually do it! I started a youtube series on my attempt to lose a few pounds to get back to fighting shape and this recipe is a good one to keep calories reasonable while still being filling. I also added some cauliflower rice to it so that I stretched my calories and got more bulk to fill me up during these long ass training days.
If you try some additional vinaigrette let me know how they turn out!
Nutritional Information: Servings 3, Serving size, about 3 cups. Calories 377, Fat 4.4 g, Fiber 15.3 g, Protein 17.6 g, Carbohydrates 71.2 g