Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Homemade Berry Vinaigrette

As summer rolls around I can’t help but buy berries every time I go to the store! They’re sweet & delicious and can be enjoyed in every way imaginable. I love piling them on top of pancakes or granola, blending them into smoothies, eating them on their own, or using them in salads. Today I thought I’d share one of my current favorites, this berry pecan quinoa salad. It’s light, bright and bursting with berries!

Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad

Confession: I’ve never been one to add berries to my salads until recently. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fruit salad, but never really understood why people would load up their greens with them. That’s all changed. Ever since I started making my own berry vinaigrette, I totally get it! I just needed to use the right dressing. Duh.

Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad

For this salad I like to use a spring mix as the base. It’s something you can find at most grocery stores in a pre-packaged mix. Then I like to add a bit of cold quinoa to it (for protein) as well as toasted pecans. Make sure to use toasted nuts… it will make a world of difference both texture-wise & taste-wise. P.S. you can do this by tossing raw pecans into a dry skillet set over medium heat. Shake every few minutes or so and when they start to become fragrant you know they’re done :)

Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad

Then top with lots of fresh blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries. Whip up a batch of my homemade berry vinaigrette and you’re good to go! I added a sprinkle of poppy seeds into my dressing this time around, but that’s totally optional… it’ll taste great either way.

Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad

If you wanted a more filling salad, top with slices of chicken or add a bit of bacon or bleu cheese to it! You’ll be surprised by how easy and delicious this salad is… that’s why it’s one of my go-to summer side dishes! Enjoy!

Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Homemade Berry Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
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Nothing says summer quite like a fresh, crisp, berry-topped salad! This berry pecan quinoa salad with homemade berry vinaigrette is perfect for lunch, dinner or to take to BBQs!
Author:
Yield: 1-2 servings
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 3 c. spring mix greens
  • ⅓ c. blueberries
  • ⅓ c. raspberries
  • ½ c. sliced strawberries
  • ⅓ c. toasted pecans
  • ½ c. quinoa, cooked and cold

  • Additions:
  • Chopped chicken
  • Bacon crumbles
  • Bleu cheese crumbles

  • For the dressing:
  • ½ c. raspberries
  • 2 medium strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. minced shallot
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp. poppy seeds (optional)
Directions
  1. Add the greens to a large plate or medium size bowl. Top with fruit, pecans and quinoa.
  2. To make the dressing, in a food processor combine all of the ingredients except for the poppy seeds. Puree until smooth. If you want an extra creamy dressing, pour through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Stir in poppy seeds if desired, toss with salad, a little bit at a time (this recipe makes a generous amount of dressing, store the leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).