Warm quinoa salad with spinach and shiitakes

Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Soy Free

2 Servings, 730 Calories/Serving

30 Minutes

Honeyed walnuts and dried sour cherries bring a bit of sweetness to this summer main-dish salad. Chef Justine makes sure to keep the salad’s flavors in balance with a dose of tart sherry vinegar, some salty ricotta salata, and spicy hit of cayenne.


  • ¾ cup red quinoa
  • 1½ ounces dried sour cherries
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ ounces walnuts
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ¼ pound baby spinach
  • 1½ ounces ricotta salata



Cook the quinoa

Heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Rinse the quinoa.
In a pot, combine the quinoa and half the dried cherries with 1 ½ cups salted water (reserve the remaining cherries for the salad). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. While the quinoa cooks, prepare the mushrooms and walnuts.


Roast the shiitakes; toast the walnuts

  • Trim and discard the stems from the shiitakes.
In a bowl, combine the honey, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon water, stirring until the honey is dissolved. Add the walnuts and toss to coat.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the walnuts to one end of a sheet pan, letting any excess liquid drain back into the bowl (reserve the liquid for the salad dressing). Spread the walnuts in an even layer.
On the other end of the sheet pan, keeping them apart from the walnuts, toss the shiitake caps with 1 tablespoon oil and as much cayenne as you like. Season with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer.
Roast the shiitakes and walnuts, stirring them separately halfway through, until the shiitakes are just tender and the walnuts are toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. While they roast, finish the salad.


Make the dressing; assemble the salad

  • Peel and finely chop the shallot.
To the bowl with the reserved honey mixture, add the shallot, vinegar, and 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add the spinach, the warm quinoa, mushrooms, walnuts, and the remaining dried cherries. Crumble the ricotta salata on top and toss to combine. Season the salad to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed.



Transfer the quinoa salad to individual bowls and serve warm.

Nutrition per serving: Calories: 730, Protein: 22 g, Total Fat: 37 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12.5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11.5 g, Saturated Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 15 mg, Carbohydrates: 82 g, Fiber: 14 g, Added Sugar: 9 g, Sodium: 960 mg

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