superfood salad with creamy meyer lemon vinaigrette

Did I really leave this….

IMG_1125for something…well, NOT this?

Sadly, I did (OK, there may have been force involved).  There’s nothing like watching the temperature drop 10 degrees with each state you drive north through.

I’m back from vacation where my appetite and diet were pretty much held hostage by two teenagers and an animated mouse.   When you’re starving and running to use your FastPass on the Aerosmith Rockin’ Rollercoaster, good choices don’t always prevail (or even exist).  And when you’re drinking your way through the countries at Epcot…well, the fish and scotch eggs at the U.K.’s Rose and Crown can’t be passed up.

Back home means back to clean eating.  That’s really how it should be, though.  I’ve said it before-eating is not about deprivation.  As cliché as it may sound, each day is a do-over.  A chance to start again and do things right.

This salad uses the fabulous citrus that is available to us this time of year.  I’ve been following the practice of several bloggers and making a big batch of quinoa to use throughout the week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Toasting cooked quinoa releases a wonderful nutty taste and aroma.  It crunches up so wonderfully that, really, the pumpkin seeds are optional.  The dressing is versatile.  Use it on any vegetable, as well as chicken and fish.

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superfood salad with creamy meyer lemon vinaigrette

approximately 6 cups of loose salad greens of your chosing (I used baby kale, baby romaine, and spinach)

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced and chopped to approximately 1-inch pieces (save fronds)

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

*To cook the quinoa, I always use a 1:2 ratio of grain: water/broth.  Bring the liquid to low simmer on the stovetop and stir in the quinoa.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

1/4 cup hulled unsalted pumpkin seeds, toasted

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

fresh, sliced citrus (optional)

1 tsp coconut oil

dressing

1/2 cup fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice

1 clove garlic, mashed

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp herbs de provence

1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

3 Tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 Tbsp olive oil

Toast the quinoa:  heat the coconut oil in a medium skillet over low to medium heat.  Add the cooked quinoa and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to keep from burning.  Toast until it turns a dark golden/light brown color.  It may spit at you a bit while it cook.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl or on a platter, toss the greens and fennel with the pumpkin and pomegranate seeds to combine.

To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients through the olive oil in a small bowl until well combined.  Whisk in the olive oil last.

Toss with salad and top with fennel fronds or dress salad servings individually.

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