Salad inspiration time! I decided, for some reason, that I wanted to make a bunch of different kinds of salads this week. This is salad idea #1 I had: Spinach Quinoa Salad With Creamy Tahini Dressing.
There’s a lot more to this salad than just that though. It also has fresh mint leaves, roasted Brussels sprouts, and fresh clementines making it a super food powerhouse salad for nutrition. The quinoa and peas add a ton of protein to the dish, while the Brussels sprouts and clementines provide lots of antioxidants and vitamin C.
I think my favorite part of this salad is the dressing though. It’s tangy, yet slightly sweet, and I love that it’s creamy too. It’s very versatile, and I made enough to use it on salads all week long! It’s oil free, so it’s a great healthy salad dressing alternative to an oil based dressing.
Anyway, let’s get on with the recipe and my inspiration for the ingredients!
The Power Of Quinoa
I’m sure by now everyone has heard of “quinoa” and why it’s a “super food.” Well, the truth is, quinoa really does live up to all of its reputation.
Here’s a brief illustration from Food Is Medicine that shows the nutrition of quinoa. It’s one of the most protein rich foods we can eat (it is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids), it’s high in iron, fiber, and magnesium. It’s naturally gluten-free, has a low glycemic index (meaning it is good for people concerned with blood sugar control) and it’s high in antioxidants. What more could you want!
For this recipe, I used plain quinoa and red quinoa. I did this mostly to make the salad more colorful, but red quinoa does have its own health benefits too.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The other component of this salad I really enjoyed was the crispy roasted Brussels sprouts. I followed the instructions for them from a previous Brussels Sprouts post of mine here.
I didn’t sprinkle them with red wine vinegar this time though. I simply put them on a baking tray plain, no seasoning, and roasted them at 375 F for 30 minutes. They got nice and crispy that way, without needing any oil!
You may not know, but Brussels sprouts are actually considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. They’re high in antioxidants, VERY high in Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, as well as a whole suite of other great things for you. They’re considered a great anti-cancer food, so I recommend everyone figure out ways to get lots of Brussels sprouts in their diet! Roasting them in the oven is my favorite method of preparing them.
Spinach Quinoa Salad With Creamy Tahini Dressing
The final ingredients that really made this salad shine for me was the fresh mint leaves, and the fresh clementine slices. It made for a light and refreshing final dish that seemed perfect for summertime.
Some of the other ingredients I used to fill the rest of it out was red onion, green peas, and diced cucumber. As for the creamy tahini dressing, it’s made from pretty simple ingredients. Dates, tahini, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, a dash of pepper, Italian seasoning, mustard, and soy milk.
It perfectly complimented the sweetness of the clementines in the salad, since the dates make it slightly sweet as well. It had a good texture too, not too watery, and not too thick. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since I made it up on the spot! I think it’s going to be my new go-to creamy dressing for awhile.
Anyway, that just about sums this post up! I hope you enjoy this light summer salad with a light creamy tahini dressing. If you try it, I’d love to know what you thought with a comment below! I hope this at least gives you some good salad inspiration. There are so many fun ways to combine veggies, spices, and fruits. I hope this post provides some new ideas for interesting salad combinations. 🙂
- 4 TBS tahini
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk*
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 8 pitted dates
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp of garlic powder
- A few shakes of pepper
- 1 cup of white quinoa
- 1 cup of red quinoa
- 6-8 cups of spinach
- 2 cups of halved Brussels sprouts
- ¼ of a red onion chopped
- ½ a small cucumber chopped
- ½ cup of frozen green peas
- 1 clementine
- 4-5 fresh mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- For the creamy tahini dressing, simply add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth
- Cut your Brussels sprouts into halves or quarters (for larger ones) and arrange them on a plain baking sheet
- Bake for 30 minutes
- Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions (usually for every 1 cup of quinoa, boil 2 cups of water)
- While the Brussels sprouts roast, chop the rest of your ingredients and de-frost your peas in the microwave
- Assemble your salad together with all of the ingredients and drizzle with creamy tahini dressing
* This dressing recipe makes enough dressing to last throughout the week. If you only want enough dressing for 1 or 2 salads, just cut all the ingredient amounts in half.