August 12, 2011

The Lunch Box: Apple, Smoked Gouda and Toasted Almond Salad

Happy Friday, everyone! It's time once again for a peek into my lunch box this week.

I was so pleased with how my beet, goat cheese and walnut salad turned out last week that I thought to myself, why mess with a good thing? It's been hot, so I felt like continuing the salad trend. Of course, I did mess with it - in a delicious way.

I went with my original formula of: veggie/fruit + cheese + grain + nuts + green leafys + acidy dressing = awesome.

Component parts.



In this week's equation, I used one of my favorite ingredient combos: granny smith apples and smoked Gouda (for more on this, check back in when it gets cold out, and I promise I'll post about my apple, turkey and smoked Gouda melts).  I stuck with the quinoa as the grain because I enjoyed it so much last time, but this time around I cooked it in veggie broth for some extra flavor. I went with almonds instead of walnuts, and toasted them up on the stove. The constants from last week's salad were the baby spinach, red onion and my lemon/red wine vinegar/extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette, although this time I added a minced clove of garlic. AND! I added some red grapes. Because, why not? They're delicious. And salads are always a work in progress, you can change them up to suit your mood.

We had this for dinner on Sunday night and then leftovers came to work with me on Monday. Another awesome salad to add to the list!

All dressed up for dinner with a glass of white wine.

Or an easy make-ahead lunch with a side of ripe farmers' market peach.

Apple, Smoked Gouda and Toasted Almond Salad

Makes 4 servings

2 granny smith or other tart apples, diced
4 oz smoked Gouda, diced
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth*
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 red onion, sliced
8 cups of baby spinach
handful of grapes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Start by placing the quinoa and the vegetable broth in a small saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, toast your almonds on medium heat in a small saute pan until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Continue whisking while slowly streaming in the olive oil.

Assemble your salad! Start with spinach, end with dressing and in between layer as desired.


*I used Better than Boullion, vegetable flavor

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