Eat Clean With This Satisfying Quinoa Salad

mbg Contributor By Amie Valpone
mbg Contributor
Amie Valpone is a Manhattan-based chef, culinary nutritionist, professional recipe developer, food photographer, writer and motivational speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ‘clean eating’ recipes.
Eat Clean With This Satisfying Quinoa Salad

Photo by Amie Valpone

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For years I struggled with health issues like PCOS and hypothyroidism. By cleaning up my diet, I learned how to get my body working for me and my symptoms (adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalances) diminished. It just took tiny steps to start—adding more healthy fats and fresh one-ingredient foods to every meal and snack.

If you’re looking to eat a little cleaner, this simple salad is one I use for a weeknight meal or a weekend lunch. You can put it together in less than 20 minutes and it can be served warm or at room temperature.

Leftovers are also great the next day over a bed of leafy greens or used to fill wraps made from steamed collard or kale leaves.

Spinach Quinoa Salad With Toasted Nuts

Serves 4


  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons raw walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw macadamia nuts
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shaved
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon dried cherries


1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the raw nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach, cucumber, and cabbage. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon, oil, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Add the cilantro, lemon zest, and cherries; toss again and serve.

Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

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