Blueberries, Swiss cheese, quinoa, dried cranberries, and green onions come together over a bed of spinach. Top it off with some lemon olive oil and you have a easy, delicious and healthy blueberry lemon salad.
Bulk item used: Quinoa
Fact: I hate lunch. Well, it's not so much the idea of lunch, it's just having to take time out the middle of the day to prepare a meal, and even worse, clean up a meal. I used to eat dinner leftovers, but as a family of 5, leftovers don't happen as much anymore.
For a long time, it wasn't uncommon for me to just snack through lunch. The result was that I was never really satisfied and I was making unhealthy choices. So I started to make an effort in actually preparing myself lunch.
One of my favorite food blogs is Averie Cooks. She has a great recipe for Spinach Blueberry Superfoods Salad. I used her recipe as a starting off spot to create one of my favorite lunches: Blueberry Lemon Salad.
Why it's great!
- This salad comes together quick! One of the things that holds me back from making a lot of salads for lunch is the time factor. I don't want to have to chop a lot of stuff up. For this one you only need to chop ONE thing!
- It's vegetarian, but filling! Thanks to the quinoa and the Swiss cheese, this salad has a lot of protein in it.
- It's healthy! I know that most salads are usually on the healthy side, but this one is comprised of mostly superfoods: dark leafy greens, berries, quinoa and olive oil.
New to quinoa? Read all about "What is Quinoa?"
Pro Tips for Blueberry Lemon Salad
Here are some things to do to make this salad especially easy and delicious.
- Use kitchen shears to cut your green onions. I hold my green onions above my salad and with a few snips of the scissors, my green onions are chopped and in the salad. It's so much faster and easier than slicing with a knife.
- I love the mild taste of the dressing on this salad. It highlights the other flavors and doesn't overpower. For this you have two options. A) whisk together lemon juice and olive oil to prepare a nice light dressing. B) Use Lemon Infused Olive Oil. This stuff is AMAZING and I highly recommend this option! If you can't find it at your local grocery store, try looking at a fancy grocery store or market. Or you can always order it online. Hey, you can even make you're own (I'm trying this next time I run out). Seriously, this stuff is the best. You need to try it.
- In the recipe card, I will provide exact amounts for ingredients. However, when I make this for myself, I'm not measuring anything. I just throw in the amount of things I want. For example, I have a (probably unhealthy) love for onions, so I add in double the amount of green onions. Also, ingredients can be easily substituted for other things you have on hand. One time I used dried cherries instead of Craisins. It was amazing. Or you could use wheatberries, instead of quinoa. Kale instead of Spinach. Get creative!
- The thing that makes this salad's prep time long is waiting for the quinoa to cook. But guess what, quinoa freezes up great! Make a big batch and freeze it in serving sizes. That way, next time you want to make this salad you just have to microwave the frozen cooked quinoa (about 1 min 30 secs) and it will be ready to go. You'll cut 20 mins off prep time. Need some tips on how to cook Quinoa? Check out How to Cook Quinoa in the Instant Pot, or How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove. Wondering what the heck Quinoa even is? You can read all about it at What is Quinoa?
- In general, I usually prefer fresh berries to frozen berries. However, in this recipe, I highly recommend using defrosted frozen blueberries. The reason for this is because as they defrost, they make a lot of juice. This can also be poured onto the salad to act as another dressing. It's so good!
Well, as I finish this post up, lunch is about an hour away. I've officially inspired myself to make Blueberry Lemon Salad today. I hope I've done the same for you! ENJOY!
Can't get quinoa at the store? Buy it online!
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Blueberry Lemon Salad
- ½ cup quinoa (also need 1 cup of water to cook the quinoa)
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- ½ cup shredded Swiss Cheese
- ¼ cup green onions
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 3 cups spinach leaves
- 4 tablespoon lemon infused olive oil *see notes
- 1. Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse ½ cup of quinoa under cold water. Boil the rinsed quinoa in 1 cup of water on high on the stove. When the water starts to boil, cover and turn down the heat to low. Simmer for 15 mins, or until the water has absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit, still covered for 5 mins. **see notes
- 2. Place the frozen blueberries in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 2 mins, or until the berries are soft and there is juice in the bowl. Berries should still be whole and not mushy.
- 3. Divide the spinach between two plates. Add cooked quinoa, dried cranberries and green onions on top of each. Then add the defrosted blueberries on top. Make sure to drizzle the blueberry juice on top of the salad. Then sprinkle the Swiss cheese on top and drizzle with 2 tbsps of lemon olive oil on each salad.