It’s spring in California. Drive around the California Central Coast and you see fields of produce being planted and harvested. The local farmers’ markets are full of just picked goodies: beets, asparagus, nectarines, greens and strawberries just to name a few. In fact, last weekend was the annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival. So, I’m sharing this recipe in honor of the Festival. Hope you enjoy it. I love the dressing.
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 ½ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups strawberries, cut in quarters
4 to 5 cups baby spinach
6 tablespoons hemp hearts
6 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 cup strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Heat oil over medium heat in a sauce pan. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add quinoa, broth and seasonings. Bring mixture to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the broth is absorbed. Stir in corn and black beans and let cool or store in fridge overnight.
Place all dressing ingredients in blender and puree for 30 seconds or until well blended.
When ready to serve, fold in strawberries and cilantro into bean and quinoa mixture. Serve over bed of baby spinach. Garnish with hemp hearts and sliced almonds. Drizzle dressing over top.
NOTE: I have also steamed the spinach for 1 minute, placed it in an ice water bath, drained and chopped it and then mixed the chopped spinach into the rest of the salad before (serving on bed of spinach if you have more spinach) drizzling the dressing.