The following recipe is from Dr. Anna Maria Levine, who is a terrific cook, runner, and blogger as well! I met Anna Maria when she was only about 8 or 9 years old…wow, admitting that is humbling and makes me feel way older than I want to be right now. I wanted to tell you how I met her before I shared with you her wonderful recipe and her great blog Recipes Remembered…
I used to run with her dad, Dr. Greg Gramelspacher (that’s a mouthful) when James and I lived in Indianapolis with just #1 (Charlie). I became fast friends with Greg’s wife, Mary Lou, with whom I have so many fond memories; walking, swimming at the NAT (Indianapolis Natatorium), and just enjoying coffee and long conversations. Facebook has allowed me to keep up with my old friends and I was so excited to see Anna Maria posting recipes and pictures of fresh veggies, fruit salads, and all kinds of healthy, tasty-looking meals. As a busy resident, Anna Maria obviously still keeps healthy eating a priority. I posted last week that I believe in the Rule of 70 (weight loss is 70% what we eat and 30% what we do), and so sharing great recipes like this one is key to putting my money where my mouth is!
Enjoy this guest post from Anna Maria Levine (Recipes Remembered)
Hello, 9KidFitness readers! I was so excited when Whitney asked me to share one of my favorite healthy recipes with all of you. Whitney and my dad were running partners back when Whitney and her husband lived in Indianapolis. I have many fond memories of tagging along to watching them run races together and spending time together as families.
Now, onto the recipe! I’m sharing with you today a recipe for Quinoa, Fruit & Nut Salad. Quinoa is a newly popular, but ancient, grain that is high in both protein and fiber. It has a nutty, wheaty flavor that is delicious both warm and cold in a salad such as this one.
When I bookmarked this recipe to make for the first time, I knew I would like it, but surprised when my husband liked it even more than I did! This is one of our favorite things to take for weekday lunches at work. I typically make a big batch at the beginning of the week and then we have it for the next few days for lunch. The salad improves as it sits in the fridge, all the flavors getting to know each other a little bit better.
If you haven’t tried quinoa before, this is a great recipe to try!
Quinoa, Fruit & Nut Salad
Makes about 6-8 servings
Recipe notes: As I mentioned above, the salad tastes better if it has a little time to sit, at least an hour. What I typically do is make it on Sunday to enjoy for lunch Monday through Wednesday. Whenever you’re planning on serving it, make sure you plan ahead. It doesn’t require much work to make, just time to sit so the flavors blend.
The other great thing about this recipe is that the options for variations are endless. All you need to do is make sure you have the ratios of nuts/fruits/quinoa/dressing about the same and it will work. One thing I’ve done is added chopped, grilled chicken breasts to add some substance and I definitely recommend it.
The recipe below outlines all the options. For the salad pictured here, I used 1 1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s Raisin Medley, 1 cup of almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, 2 teaspoons dried oregano.
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- salt & freshly ground pepper
1 1/3 mixed dried fruit, such as cranberries, golden raisins, dark raisins,
- golden raisins, dark raisins, and/or cut-up apricots
- 1 cup mixed seeds and nuts, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and chopped almonds and/or walnuts
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro, or mint, or a combination or 2 tsp dried herbs such as oregano, basil or Italian spices
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon walnut or hazelnut oil (or another tablespoon of olive oil)
- Cook the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa under cold running water and drain it in a sieve (I put the quinoa in a mesh strainer and run it under the water). This is an important step that prevents the quinoa from tasting bitter after it is cooked. Place quinoa and 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, for about 10-15 minutes. When done, the grain appears soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.
- Cool the Quinoa: Once the quinoa is cooked, turn it into a serving bowl (or glass dish for storing) to cool, season lightly with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp of salt, ½ tsp pepper). I typically place it in a glass pyrex bowl in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, until it is cool and dried out a little bit. This step is important to prevent the quinoa from getting mushy when you mix in the dressing and other ingredients.
- Combine Quinoa with other dry ingredients: Once cool, gently stir in the dried fruits, nuts and herbs.
- Make the dressing: Put the lemon juice, ginger, olive oil, nut oil (if using) in a small jar and shake to blend (a mason jar works great here); or whisk together in a small bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the quinoa and mix well with a large spoon or a rubber spatula. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour or in the fridge for up to a day. The salad will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least 3 days.