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 tbsp lemon infused olive oil *see notes
- 1. Using a fine mesh sieve, rinse 1/2 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.
Let me know what you think of this salad in the comments. I love to hear from readers!
These no bake homemade granola bars are soft and chewy and so easy to make! They can be jazzed up any way you like them. Add in some old favorites like nuts and chocolate, or get creative and mix in something new. I’m thinking dried blueberries and lime zest.
Bulk items used: Oatmeal, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut….
Granola bars are a great snack to have on hand. They are healthy-ish (depending on what you put in them), they’re portable and delicious.
At the grocery store, there are a couple of flavors to choose from. You know the flavors–chocolate chip, peanut butter, ‘smores. But homemade granola bars are great because you have so much control over what you put in them and can make so many interesting flavors.
Mix-In Flavor Ideas
The bulk section of the grocery store is perfect for mix-in ingredient inspiration. You can find a large assortment of nuts, and dried fruit. There is also seeds, like flax and chia, that would add a lot of nutritional value. Oh, and then there is the large section of tasty things covered in chocolate. Any of those would be good. Here’s some flavor ideas to get you started:
- Almond Joy: shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and sliced almonds
- Chocolate Covered Pretzel: chocolate chips and broken up pretzel sticks
- Blueberry Lime: dried blueberries and lime zest
- Cherry Pistachio: dried cranberries and chopped pistachios
This is a really fun recipe to make with your kids, not only because it is easy, but because they can get involved in picking the ingredients. I like to give each of my kids a bowlful of the oat mixture and let them add in whatever they like. They have a blast!
Tips for Making No Bake Homemade Granola Bars
- If you are adding chocolate, let the bars cool for several minutes before stirring it into the oat mixture. Otherwise, the chocolate will melt throughout the bars. This can be tasty too, however, so decide which way you prefer it.
- When I say press the bars into the pan, I really mean PRESS THE BARS INTO THE PAN. The harder you can press, and the more you do it, the more solid the bars will turn out. If you don’t press enough, this recipe will not stay in bar form when you cut into it. It will be kinda like a sticky granola. Still delicious, just maybe not what you are going for.
- Speaking of pressing, I highly recommend using parchment paper to help you press the oatmeal into the pan. The oatmeal doesn’t stick to the paper like it does to your fingers, which will allow you to press it into the pans a lot more effectively.
Homemade Granola Bars
- 2½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup various mix-ins of your choice (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, seeds, etc)
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extra and salt. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
- Add in the old fashioned oats and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning. Remove from heat and stir in mix-ins. If you are using chocolate, allow mixture to cool before adding so it doesn't melt throughout. (Unless you want it to melt throughout).
- Spray a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. Transfer the oat mixture to the pan and use a square of parchment paper, or damp fingers, to press it really hard into the pan. The harder you press the better!
- Cover and place the pan in the fridge to cool and harden for about 2 hours. Then cut into bars. Uneaten bars do not need to be stored in the refrigerator.
These soft, chewy homemade granola bars were adapted from Inspired Taste’s “Simple, Soft and Chewy Granola Bars.“