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!
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
- 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
- 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)
- Add the greens to a large plate or medium size bowl. Top with fruit, pecans and quinoa.
- 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).