I’ve been feeling a bit of wanderlust lately. I know, I know — I just took an amazing trip to Ireland in March. I shouldn’t be feeling this junkie jones to wander so soon, right? I just can’t help it. Travel – or rather the act of exploring new places, connecting to different cultures, and sampling the local food – is like heroin in my blood.
I’ve been trying to feed the travel bug this summer by exploring my backyard. Well, not literally my backyard but the surrounding area. I’m making a point of trying 1 new local restaurant a week, and if you aren’t already aware Portland is a mecca of fabulous food finds. I’m organizing a monthly hike followed by a stop at a local brewery with extended family and friends. I spent a day visiting nearby wineries and tasting their delicious fare, something I will be doing again before the summer is out.
This week I am leaving for my bi-monthly visit to my Nana in the charming town of Napa, California. It’s not exactly a vacation, but I so enjoy the down time surrounded by my loving family. I always leave feeling pampered and cherished, and isn’t that how we should all feel after visiting family? And of course, I always try to find the time to drink some fabulous local wine and try one of the many amazing restaurants while I’m there.
But still the travel bug is gnawing at me. It’s telling me I need to plan another trip to somewhere new in the very near future. Do you have a passion for travel? Where is your favorite destination?
This week, I bring you an entree salad that has become a Meatless Monday staple on my table during strawberry season, which is admittedly on its way out.
This is really a simple salad, taking about 15 minutes to whip up. It starts with quinoa cooked in a bit of curry powder and garlic and a bed of baby spinach and chopped basil leaves.
I like to spread the quinoa over the baby spinach while its still warm to slightly wilt and soften the spinach. Then I toss the mixture in a creamy yogurt-based dressing, top it with strawberries, pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese, and voila! Dinner is served.
- Serves: 2
- Serving size: 3 cups
- Calories: 473.2
- Fat: 19.1
- Saturated fat: 3.2
- Polyunsaturated fat: 4.0
- Carbohydrates: 59.0
- Sugar: 21.8
- Sodium: 292.1
- Fiber: 10.1
- Protein: 18.7
- Cholesterol: 5.0
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup white quinoa, rinsed
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 6 oz. raw baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
- pinch of coarse sea salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- ¼ cup (1 oz.) crumbled goat cheese
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Add the quinoa, 1 tsp of the curry powder and the garlic.
- Stir, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, toss together the spinach and basil in a large mixing bowl.
- Once the quinoa has cooked, spread it warm across the top of the spinach and let sit for 1-2 minutes to allow the heat of the quinoa to lightly wilt the spinach.
- Whisk together the yogurt, remaining 2 tsp of curry powder, salt, olive oil, lemon juice and honey.
- Pour the dressing over the quinoa and spinach and toss to combine well. If desired, transfer the mixture to a clean salad bowl for presentation.
- Top the salad with the strawberries, pine nuts and goat cheese. Serve immediately.