This quinoa carrot spinach salad is refreshing, yet hearty! It’s made with nutritious quinoa and chickpeas, as well as tender roasted carrots. The carrot chili vinaigrette is a sweet, spicy dressing that you can double and use on all of your salads and bowls.
Greetings, friends, and happy Cinco de Mayo. There are lots of fiesta-worthy dishes I could have made and posted today–enchiladas, tostadas, or one of my many varieties of guac. Instead, I’m taking an oblique route and offering you this lovely quinoa salad. It’s not a traditional Cinco de Mayo dish, but it does incorporate some heat (chili, jalapeno) and some cumin, both of which evoke Mexican cooking. It also features these gorgeous, cumin-dusted roasted carrots, which are delicious enough to be worthy of a post.
My favorite part of this dish is, not surprisingly, the carrot chili vinaigrette. I’m a dressing fanatic (I may have more flair for dressing than any other type of recipe), and for me, dressing makes or breaks a salad. This dressing is a keeper. It’s got it all: saltiness, sweetness, and plenty of spice. It brings the whole salad together, highlighting the sweet roasted carrots and brightening up the nutty quinoa.
For the greens in this salad, you could use spinach, arugula, or even mizuna. I stuck with spinach because it’s in season right now and because there’s usually a bunch of it hanging out in my fridge, but feel free to use your imagination. Romaine would work very nicely, too.
I do so love the roasted carrots in this recipe, but you can make a shortcut version of the salad on any busy night by replacing them with a cup or two of raw, grated carrots in the salad instead. It’ll be a delicious and slightly more streamlined version of the salad.
I’m personally happy that I made enough of this dish to give me lunch leftovers today. Steven knows that I tend to be conservative with heat in my cooking, and he told me last night that he loved the kick in the quinoa, which I took to be a good compliment. And a sign that I’m becoming just a little more adventurous with my food.
I hope you all enjoy the dish–maybe with an ice cold drink and a nice bowl of guac and veggies. Happy May 5th, friends, and I’ll be back soon.