Power Lunch: Quinoa Salad

June 11, 2015  •  Beans & Grains, Salads

italian-quinoa-saladThe last couple of months were filled with a fair amount of stress for me, including the death of both my mom and my brother just one week apart. Understandably, I wasn’t sleeping particularly well, and I noticed I was having some heart fluttering, kind of like an irregular heart beat. I chalked that up to too much stress and caffeine as I worked my way through things. But then I had my pre-op for my knee surgery and found the real cause: low potassium. I’ve never had low potassium before, and I’m not sure why I had it then, but as soon as I started adding high potassium foods to my diet, the fluttering went away. italian-quinoa-salad-2During that time, I came up with this lunch salad recipe. It’s really easy, and you can adjust what you’d like in it, but my version features some high potassium things like spinach and avocado. Other foods high in potassium include white beans, sweet potatoes, squash, yogurt, fish, mushrooms, and bananas. In fact, I ate some of the salad with a piece of poached salmon on top for dinner the next day and it was great.italian-quinoa-salad-1The other thing you can’t skimp on in a salad like this is the flavor ingredients: the very best extra virgin olive oil (you get the health benefits of olive oil when you consume it raw in dishes like this), flavorful vinegar (I used a pear white wine vinegar my daughter’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas), fresh herbs, good sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Simply cook your quinoa and then while it is cooling, slice up your veggies and toss it all together. Delicious. Healthy. Satisfying. And packed with potassium as the doctor ordered!

Quinoa Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach, sliced thin
  • ½ ounce fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
  • 4 radishes, sliced or chopped
  • ½ to 1 avocado, diced
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine the quinoa and water together in a medium saucepan and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread onto a cutting board to cool.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, combine the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the quinoa when it is slightly warm, but not hot, and toss to combine. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Serve as a lunch salad or a side dish with salmon or chicken.


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