This breakfast salad has got it all going on! Nutritious greens, topped with delicious, antioxidant-filled fruit, protein-rich quinoa and a delicious dressing containing healthy fats to help you absorb this beautiful bowl of nutrients. What more could you ask for out of a quick and easy meal?
I’m all about starting the day with a big boost of good nutrition. For me, this often means a smoothie or a bowl of oats topped with fruit, but sometimes you just need to change it up. That’s where this breakfast salad comes in. It’s an amazing way to get lots of nutrients in if you’re just not feeling a smoothie.
When I first went plant-based, I wasn’t exactly a vegetable lover. Greens, though packed with healthy goodness, were not a part of my regular diet. I knew this needed to change, so I started looking for ways to sneak greens in. One way I found was making a fruit salad on a bed of greens. This allowed me to have a little something sweet in each bite, which helped to cover the bitter note from the greens. That’s how this salad idea was born. I’ve adjusted and tweaked it over the years, and now I’m sharing it with you.
So, if this sounds like you, this breakfast salad is a great option to try in order to get those healthy greens in! If you’re looking for more tips on incorporating greens in your diet, check out my post: How to Eat More Leafy Greens When You Aren’t a Big Fan.
On to this breakfast salad. Like many of my meals do now, it starts with a bed of greens. You can really use whatever greens you like here. In fact, I’d encourage you to mix it up a bit and try new ones. For the purpose of this recipe, we start with a bed of baby spinach and baby kale. Both are milder in flavour than the mature versions, so a great place to start if you’re not huge on greens in general.
Then, things start to get fun. Top that bed of greens with all the fruits! I’m just kidding, you don’t need all of them. You can really use whatever you like, but for this recipe, I used sliced apple (I love a nice crunch in my salads) strawberries and blueberries (hello antioxidants) and some clementines.
Then top with some quinoa and hemp hearts for some added protein and omega fats.
Benefits of Berries
Berries are one of the healthiest fruits around. They are full of polyphenols (beneficial plant compounds) and antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. In fact, blueberries have been shown to have numerous positive effects on the body. Everything from improving cognitive and artery function to enhancing mood and improving mobility in the elderly.
This believed to be (at least partly) due to the fact that berries contain almost 10 times the antioxidants of other fruits and vegetables. So, when it comes to berries, eat up and enjoy! They’re the kind of food that treats you right.
The dressing for this salad was inspired by my love for clementines. If you slice the segments, the juices come out and coat your greens, which makes for a delicious salad. I would typically eat it just like this, but I knew I had to come up with a yummy dressing to pair with it.
Enter clementines. Sweet and juicy, they lend a lovely citrus flavour. A dressing just wouldn’t be a dressing without a little zing, so lemon juice comes in to amp up that citrus vibe a little more. Mix this with the creamy and nutty flavour of tahini, and touch of sweet maple syrup and you’ve got a winning combination.
This is a pretty simple recipe that doesn’t require much. I use a blender to make the dressing. If you don’t have one, you could squeeze the juice from the clementines and whisk with the other ingredients instead of blending them.
You’ll also need a large bowl for the salad (some salad tongs come in handy too), a fine mesh strainer to rinse the quinoa, a saucepan to cook the quinoa and a knife and cutting board to chop the fruit.
The ingredients in this salad should be readily available at your local grocery store. The nice thing is, for the salad, you can really adjust the components to your preferences or what is available to you. I include berries due to the potent nutrition, but if berries aren’t in season, you can really substitute whichever fruits you want.
For the dressing, you will need:
Tahini – a seed butter made from ground sesame seeds
Flax meal – ground flax seeds
For the breakfast salad, you will need:
Baby spinach – or greens of your choosing
Baby kale – or greens of your choosing
The quinoa will take about 15 minutes to cook, so you’ll want to get that on first.
Measure out your quinoa and rinse it in a fine mesh strainer. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin. This has a bitter flavour and can cause stomach upset in some people. Many brands of quinoa come pre-rinsed, but it’s never a bad idea to give it another quick rinse before cooking.
From here, you can prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. I’ve heard many complain that they have trouble getting a finished product that isn’t too mushy using the package directions. If you have trouble with that, I’d suggest using the pasta method. Add it to a pot of boiling water and continue boiling for about 15 minutes. Then check to be sure it’s cooked to your desired consistency, and pour through a fine mesh strainer to drain the excess water. This will also help to ensure any remaining saponin is removed.
While the quinoa is cooking, you can make the dressing. To do this, you’ll simply peel the clementines and add them to the blender with the other dressing ingredients. I like to separate the segments and feel for any seeds so I can remove those first. Then blend it all together until smooth and creamy.
Once you’re dressing and quinoa are done, you can wash and chop your greens and fruit so they are ready for assembly.
To assemble, you’ll just add all the ingredients to a large salad bowl, drizzle with the dressing and mix with salad tongs. Dig in and enjoy!
- 3-4 cups greens of choice, I used baby spinach and baby kale
- 1 cup strawberries (sliced)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 apple (diced)
- 2 clementines
- 1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1-2 tbsp hemp hearts
- 3 clementines
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp maple syrup or date syrup
- 1 tsp flax meal
- Put the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well.
- Then cook according to package directions.
- Cook using the pasta method, add to a pot of boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes. Then drain using a fine mesh strainer.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing.
- Peel the clementines and add to blender, along with the rest of the dressing ingredients.
- Blend until smooth and creamy. If the dressing comes out thicker than you like, add a tablespoon or two of water to thin.
- Next, assemble the salad.
- Wash and prep the salad greens and blueberries, and add to a bowl.
- Wash and chop the apple and strawberries and add them to the bowl.
- Peel the clementines and divide them into segments. Slice each segment in half and add to the bowl.
- Once the quinoa is finished, drain and fluff. then crumble over the salad.
- Sprinkle hemp hearts over the salad and drizzle with dressing.
- Then dig in and enjoy!
If you enjoyed this recipe, go ahead and share it with your friends. If you happen to post a picture of it on Instagram, please tag me (@mentalforlentils) and use #mentalforlentils. I love to see what you guys are cooking up in your kitchens!