Ever since I first heard of roasting strawberries, I’ve been waiting for a chance to try it out. Since strawberries are starting to show up around here, I tossed a pound of them with balsamic vinegar and threw them in the oven. The result is wonderfully concentrated flavor, perfect for savory or sweet applications. I chose to use them in this savory salad with quinoa. The quinoa is a great foil to the strawberries, absorbing their juices and providing a good base for the salad, along with spinach. Walnuts on top for crunch and blue cheese to balance the sweetness of the strawberries make this salad a winner. It comes together quickly, with the quinoa cooking while the strawberries roast, and I liked it best served at room temperature – perfect for packing for lunch. I think this would also be a great unique addition to a brunch spread.
Roasted Strawberry Quinoa Salad
Yield: 3 – 4 entrees or 6 – 8 sides
- 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 8 ounces spinach, torn into pieces
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and let simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss 1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved with 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Spread evenly in a roasting pan, and cook until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the strawberries from the oven, and set aside to cool.
- When the quinoa is done, remove from heat, and fluff with a fork, then set aside to cool.
- Toss 8 ounces spinach, torn into pieces with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp of the balsamic strawberry juices from the roasting pan, and salt and pepper, to taste. Adjust the quantities, as needed (you want the spinach to be a little overdressed since you will be adding more ingredients to the salad).
- Top the spinach with the cooked quinoa, roasted strawberries, 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped, and 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled. This salad can be served immediately (with the quinoa and strawberries still warm) or refrigerated and served cold or at room temperature.