Tasty Tuesdays – Quinoa Salad
I admit that the name of this recipe does not give this salad justice. The additions of roasted butternut squash, goat cheese and spinach make this not only a rich source of many nutrients, but very tasty. Although this salad is best when eaten right after preparation, it can last in the refrigerator for a few days and is still scrumptious when warmed up.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 20 g of goat cheese
- 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Cut butternut squash in ½ and scoop out the seeds.
- Place both halves, inside facing up, on a baking sheet and roast for 1hour and 20 minutes or until tender and a fork can pierce easily.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Peel off skin and chop one ½ into bite sized pieces. Save the other ½ in the refrigerator for another meal.
- Combine the quinoa, vegetable broth and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat to low-medium and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and stir in fresh spinach until wilted.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to the mixing bowl.
- Stir in roasted squash pieces and crumbled goats cheese.
- Add toasted pine nuts and combine.
- Salt & pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Spinach is an edible flowering plant which comes in three different varieties distinguished by their leaf type; savoy, smooth and semi-savoy (LeStrange et al., 1996). All three types are extremely nutritious and found in season now until the end of October. One cup of raw spinach contains an abundance of dietary fiber, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. As well, this leafy green has trace amounts of heart healthy fatty acids (USDA, 2012). While spinach does have noteworthy concentrations of calcium, it also contains high amounts of oxalates which bind to this mineral and substantially decrease absorption by the body (Holmes and Kennedy, 2000). However, spinach is still a great source of magnesium and vitamin K, which are both important for bone health (Armas et al., 2010). The body’s conversion of vitamin K activates osteocalcin which is a protein responsible for bone mineralization (Kapustin and Shanahan, 2011). Vitamin K not only helps to increase bone mineral density and decrease the chances of fractures, but has also been shown to play a major role in blood clotting (Weber, 2001). Coagulation is extremely important for proper bodily functioning and if not maintained could lead to a wide range of problems. Overall, spinach is a highly nutritious food containing several antioxidants which protect the body against oxidative damage and ensure proper health (Moser et al., 2011). So it isn’t a stretch to think that Popeye was talking about more than just muscles when he said, “I’m strong to the finish when I eats me spinach”.