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!
Berry Pecan Quinoa Salad Recipe
For the Salad
- 3 cup spring green mix
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1/3 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries - sliced
- 1/3 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa - cooled
- cooked chicken - chopped
- bacon crumbles
- bleu cheese crumbles
For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 2 medium strawberries - sliced
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar - OR balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp shallot - minced
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- 1/2 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).