A refreshing quinoa salad with mandarin oranges, sweet cherries, slivered almonds, fresh mint and peppery arugula tossed in a citrus maple dressing. This light, nutritious and incredibly simple salad is the essence of the up-and-coming spring months.
Also the essence of a “detox” salad which is what I desperately needed after this weekend.
Recap: Friday night consisted of dinner, drinks and dessert at a relatively new restaurant in St Petersburg where a friend of mine is head chef. Dinner was good, but DESSERT rocked my universe. Let me talk you through it… a fried cronut topped with chocolate ganache, black pepper bacon slow cooked in maple syrup, vanilla bean ice-cream and powdered sugar. It was INCREDIBLE. Honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever consumed and worth every calorie.
And in case you’re wondering, I left my dietitian hat home that night.
Saturday and Sunday consisted of a fundraising event and a baby shower, both of which included delicious cake that I couldn’t pass up. And a few beers/glasses of wine. So needlessss to say, my body is in major need of a healthy reset this week. I woke up this morning actually craving fruits, vegetables and Greek yogurt.
Tell me about y’alls weekend! Anything fun? Anything more calorically-dense than my cronut/sundae/heaven-on-a-plate experience?? 😉 I’ll be shocked!I don’t know about you guys , but I am majorly loving mandarin oranges right now. Which is actually pretty funny/weird to me because i’ve never been a big fan in the past. Though I think it’s because restaurants just kept ruining my salads by adding canned mandarin oranges to them which is just naawwwttt the same. Not even close.
I love how these little nuggets are just a perfectly proportioned snack. And I love the way my fingers still smell like citrus for hours after peeling one. And I REALLY love how delicious they are in this quinoa salad. They just add the perfect burst of freshness and sweetness to every bite. All of the ingredients in this salad just work so well together. The peppery arugula and fresh mint balance out the sweetness from the maple syrup, cherries and oranges beautifully. AND for my fellow texture-people, the crunchy almonds, chewy cherries and crisp arugula make for the perfect trio.
Trust me, my boyfriend is the biggest texture freak on the planet so I ask for his consent on paramount topics such as these.
It’s SUCH a filling but light wonderful lunch. Or snack. Or breakfast. Or everything.
Last night I wanted it for dessert? Though at that point I think I wanted anything BUT cake.
It also pairs well with many different proteins. A nice mild white fish, chicken, turkey/turkey burgers, pork loin, tofu, you name it.
So let’s get a jump start on Spring, shall we?!
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup fresh mandarin orange slices + juice of 2 mandarin oranges
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup slivered almond
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped mint
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine quinoa with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for ~15 minutes or until all water is absorbed and quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
- Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add orange slices, cherries, arugula, almonds and mint. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, maple syrup, oil and salt. Pour dressing over quinoa salad and toss to combine. Serve!