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This strawberry spinach salad with quinoa can be eaten as a side salad or a makes a nutritious, complete, high protein meal. Add some sliced almonds and thinly sliced red onions for flavor and texture, and serve with a crusty roll for a delicious salad that makes a meal!
Spinach salad has always been a favorite of mine. Adding in the fresh strawberries gives this salad a special summertime feel – no matter what season you are in.
To make Strawberry Spinach Salad, You Will Need:
- baby spinach
- fresh strawberries, quartered
- cooked quinoa
- seasoning for quinoa such as Better Than Bouillon (affiliate link),
- or if you cook the quinoa yourself, cook in vegetable broth.
- if you can’t find the bouillon, use liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce
- thinly sliced red onion
- sliced almonds
- salad dressing of choice. I recommend balsamic dressing. You can use bottled dressing you buy at the store. For an oil-free dressing, I recommend:
If this is a complete meal, where is the protein?
This salad gets its protein from the almonds and the seasoned quinoa. Quinoa is a powerhouse ancient grain that has a lot of health benefits including protein, fiber, and other important minerals, and vitamins. Read more about the benefits of quinoa in this informative article by Healthline.com.
How do I Prepare the Quinoa?
So I make it easy on myself with this recipe and use already prepared (pre-cooked) quinoa. I can buy it in the grocery store in the produce section (presumably more fresh) or in the beans and rice section along with the pre-cooked rice. Quinoa tends to have a very bland taste though, so I season mine with Better Than Bouillon paste. I use the vegetable base flavor. There is also a vegan chicken flavor as well as a vegan beef flavor if you choose. (Do be careful though if you are vegan because there are also non-vegan versions of the chicken and beef flavors.)
What if I can’t find the bouillon paste?
No problem! A tablespoon of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or even low sodium soy sauce should do the trick. You are just looking for something to add a little umami flavor to the quinoa.
Can I make my own quinoa?
Of course! If you are a purist or just have extra dried quinoa hanging about in the back of your cupboard and you’ve been looking for the perfect reason to use it, go for it! Just keep these things in mind:
- You will need 1/2 cup dried quinoa to make 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa.
- Rinse the quinoa before cooking. This is a step I used to skip. I found I enjoyed the quinoa better when I rinsed first.
- You can sub in vegetable broth for the water if you want to give the quinoa a little flavor.
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Slicing the Onions and Strawberries
Slice the red onions very thinly and then cut in half. This is my personal preference. I don’t like a chunky onion in my salad, but more of a delicate strip to just add in a little flavor and texture.
Can I sub in other onions?
Honestly, red onions taste better than white or yellow onions in a spinach salad. You can sub in a shallot though as it has a similar flavor to a red onion.
Should I quarter or slice the strawberries?
Potato potaaato….tomato tomaaato…
This is a personal preference. I personally like my strawberries quartered for this salad.
Finishing the Salad:
- I use a 5-ounce container of baby spinach. It comes pre-washed. I know some people like to pre-wash their prewashed salad greens. If you do, please make sure to dry them thoroughly. Lay on a paper towel and gently pat dry, or put in a salad spinner (affiliate link). This salad, in particular, does not do well if soggy.
Put all the ingredients on top of the spinach and give it a gentle toss.
Does this Salad Work for Meal Prep?
It absolutely does work well for meal prep! I potion my salad in four containers without the dressing. I have little containers for the dressing too. They come in so handy when I am taking my meal prepped items to work. I’ve used these little containers for salad dressing, salsa, or peanut butter (for my apple.) This salad should last about 3 days in the refrigerator.
Here are some (affiliate) links to the meal prep containers I use. The black round containers are reusable.
Want to take this salad to a whole new level?
Slice some vegan chicken and lay it on top!
I have used Gardien brand which is very tasty! Pictured here is my personal favorite: sliced Morning Star Original Breaded Chik Patty. Most of the Morning Star products, like the “chik patty” posted, are vegan. Do make sure you read the ingredient list though, as some of the Morning Star products still contain egg. It is my understanding that they are working to move away from this and going completely vegan.
The Recipe For Strawberry Spinach Salad with Quinoa:
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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Quinoa
- 1½ cup cooked quinoa see notes
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Paste see notes
- 16 ounces strawberries washed, cored, and quartered
- 1/2 small red onion sliced thinly
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 2/3 cup almonds sliced
- dressing of choice not added in nutritional information
- Optional - sliced vegan chicken
- If you need to prepare the quinoa, prepare according to package directions for 1 1/2 cups cooked. I sub in vegetable broth for the water to give it extra flavor.
- Add in 1 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon vegetable paste. to the prepared quinoa. If you do not have the bouillon paste, then sub in 2 T of liquid aminos or low low sodium soy sauce. Set aside.
- Wash and cut the strawberries. I like to cut into quarters. Slice if that is your preference. Set aside.
- Slice 1/2 red onion thinly. I like to slice thinly and then cut the thin slices in half.
- Add the baby spinach, prepared quinoa, cut strawberries, sliced onions, and sliced almonds to a medium-large bowl. Toss gently.
- Drizzle your choice of dressing on top.
- Optional - add sliced cooked vegan chicken to the top of the salad.