I’m always looking for salad inspiration, especially in the colder months, (which can be most of the year here). I like trying to come up salads that use anything other than tomatoes which can be really pricey, and less than optimal tasting when they’re out of season.
When I saw this salad idea on a menu in Nevados in Fernie B.C., I knew right away I was going to make my own version when we got home. There’s just so much goodness going on in this salad, that it’s easy to forget that you’re even eating salad!
I’ve been loving the Organic Power Greens mix that our Costco has been carrying, it’s a mix of beet greens, baby kale, and spinach. The greens get topped with plenty of Caramelized Pineapple Salsa, nutty quinoa, and crunchy jicama. Then it’s all enveloped in a creamy coconut lime cilantro dressing, making it a salad I can eat everyday of the week!
It also works great made into salad jars. Just add into a quart mason jar the salsa, then the dressing, jicama, cooked quinoa, and top with mixed greens. These salad jars keep really well for 4-5 days. I should note that to safely keep cooked grains to store in the fridge for a few days, they need to be spread out on a sheet pan after cooking, and cooled completely before assembling the salads.
By cooling the cooked quinoa quickly, it keeps for longer in the fridge. You can also sub out the cooked quinoa with nuts, (stored on the side) or grilled chicken if you’re worried about how long the quinoa will keep. You can read all about how to assemble and customize your own salad jars in my Mason Salad Jars 101.
You can usually find jicama at your local grocery store, and if you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a treat. It’s juicy, crunchy, and slightly sweet. It’s fantastic dipped in guacamole, and cubed up on salads. I use a vegetable peeler to peel the root (it goes by several names including Peruvian ground apple, and Mexican potato) before slicing and cubing it up.
Jicama is also a nutritional powerhouse containing lots of Vitamin C and potassium. It’s also very high in fiber, and not to get into too many boring details, but it’s a special type of fiber which helps you absorb calcium better. This makes it the perfect partner for greens which are high in calcium!
The homemade coconut lime dressing comes together in just minutes in the blender. Once you start blending your own salad dressing, you just can’t go back. They’re so easy to make, and the intense flavor they bring to your salad is addicting!
This recipe is just one more way to use up part of the big batch of Caramelized Pineapple Salsa I posted earlier. Once you taste this salad, I know you’ll have no problem using up salsa like crazy.
This salad is all kinds of fresh and comforting at the same time which for me is the ultimate combination!Print
Tropical Quinoa Salad:
- 1 cup pre-rinsed quinoa
- 8 cups mixed greens, 8 ounces
- 2 cups diced jicama, 8 ounces, about 1/2 of a medium sized root
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
- 2 cups Caramelized Pineapple Salsa
Coconut Lime Dressing:
- 1 cup coconut milk from the can
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, packed
- 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
- sea salt to taste
- Place the quinoa in a medium sized saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to low, cover and cook until done, about 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking prepare the rest of the salad.
- Place the greens in a large serving bowl, and top with the jicama, avocado, and caramelized pineapple salsa.
- Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients into a blender. Blend starting on low and working up to medium high speed, 7-8 on a Vitamix, until the dressing is creamy and emulsified.
- When the quinoa is done, add it warm/hot to the salad bowl and top with the desired amount of dressing. You may have a bit of dressing leftover, but it keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Toss the salad and serve immediately. The leftovers do not keep well if the quinoa is added to the salad hot, so if you think you might not eat all the salad, store all the components separately in the fridge and toss them together when you’re ready to serve.