Springtime Raspberry Almond Salad

Ever since I was a little girl the taste of raspberries has reminded me of long days, warm sun, and fireflies. We have a raspberry bush in our backyard that every summer provides endless toppings for yogurt parfaits, jams, and mid afternoon snacks. As a result, I try to incorporate raspberries into as many dishes as I can…even if these bright berries are only in vinagrette form. This salad is one of my favorites because the crunchy lettuce and almonds feel clean and fresh, and the broccoli and quinoa really soak up the raspberry  flavor of the dressing.

Start your salad with greens of your choice. I used a mix of spring greens, but baby spinach, romaine lettuce, or baby arugula would also tase delicious. Whatever you decide to go with, your body will reap all the benefits these green leaves have to offer. Leafy greens contain fiber (you’ll feel full for longer!) and many varieties also supply a substantial amount of calcium which keep bones and teeth strong and reduce overall risk of osteoporosis. They are rich in vitamin C, a mineral that helps keep cartilage and joints in full working order, and their high water content keeps your skin hydrated and hair shiny.  

Broccoli is something I have a love-hate relationship with, I’ll be honest. Stir fried or mixed in with pasta I’ll eat it all day long, but raw broccoli tastes about the same to me as eating a tree. I’ve recently discovered that this strange veggie is perfect in salads for absorbing the dressing and providing an unexpected crunch. Providing flavor and texture isn’t all broccoli has to offer however, it’s heart healthy, aids in digestion, reduces cholesterol, and has even been proven to produce enzymes that reduce the risk of cancer! For some reason that broccoli just started tasting a whole lot better…

Yeah, yeah greens are cool, but now let’s move on to the good stuff. We’ll start off with quinoa. Boxes of quinoa can be purchased at any local grocery store despite its reputation as a specialty health food. Following the preparation instructions on the package takes about 10 minutes and requires little more than boiling water. For such a little grain quinoa sure packs a nutritional punch. It is high in protein and fiber, and is one of the only cereal grains to achieve “superfood” status. Make the quinoa according to the directions on the box and allow it to cool before adding about 1/4 of a cup to your salad.

Finally, the almonds. I LOVE almonds. Roasted, salted, raw, covered in dark chocolate, I’ll take it all. Even better than whole almonds is almond slices which  provide the perfect crunch to any dish. They come in sooo many flavors, but my personal faves are sea salt & cracked pepper and dry roasted. Each handful of almonds added just increases the nutritional content of this salad: almonds are known for significantly reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, and provide a significant amount of vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, protein, and healthy fats with almost no sugar. Add one to two tablespoons of almond slices to your salad and you are good to go!

When you are ready to eat your beautiful creation, serve with a light raspberry vinagrette. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups of greens
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup of quinoa
  • 1-2 tbs almond slices
  • Raspberry vinagrette of your choice

Directions:

  1. Add greens and broccoli to serving bowl.
  2. Cook quinoa according to directions on package. Allow to cool before adding 1/4 of a cup to salad.
  3. Sprinkle with 1-2 tbs of almond slices.
  4. Serve with a light raspberry vinagrette and make all of your friends jealous!
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s