Berry Quinoa Salad Cups
A couple of weeks ago, I was caught off guard when I received one specific email. We were still on vacation in Maine (take me back!) and I wasn’t furiously checking my phone as much as I do when I’m home. I opened my inbox one morning on our trip and received a message from the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission. They kindly asked me to create a salad recipe using their berries because they had seen my lemon sugar cookies with Marionberry frosting. I was honored and gladly accepted the challenge.
I thought my love for berries was insane, but I think the good folks over at the Raspberry and Blackberry Commission have me beat. Through local festivals, informational articles, and relationships with schools, the ORBC celebrates healthy living and innovative ways to use their berries. Pretty cool, huh?
Coming up with new recipes can be a challenging task. Just like authors who write novels, bloggers get writer’s block. I was asked to make a salad with Oregon berries, but I wanted to challenge myself to go beyond the normal chopped romaine and tomatoes salad. I wanted to create a salad that was bursting with flavor, but also fun. Berries are fun!
So, I wandered around Whole Foods. Looking back on it now, I probably looked insane. I was wearing my pajamas in a ritzier town in Connecticut with bags under my eyes and a mission on my face. After looking through the produce section, I decided to use Boston Bibb lettuce to function as a cup for the salad that was beginning to develop inside my brain. I had a nice conversation with an older gentleman about how the lettuce was a little lighter than usual and proceeded to the grains and nuts section of the store. My Saturdays are pretty wild, folks!
Quinoa and cashews were my next decision as they are nutty and full of protein. The crunch of the lettuce would jive perfectly with the cashews. My next stop was the frozen fruit section where I found Stahlbush Island Farms blueberries and raspberries. I knew that they would be the perfect combination for a sweet and tangy dressing. My last stop was cheese. Let’s be honest, all good salads need a little cheese. I chose feta for this one, but my co-worker suggested goat cheese for a creamier twist. The choice is up to you, my friends.
These berries quinoa salad cups are the perfect gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly option for friends and family alike. Enjoy!
- 1 cup Oregon raspberries (frozen and thawed)
- 1 cup Oregon blueberries (frozen and thawed)
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup light agave nectar
- 1-1/2 cup red quinoa (cooked)
- 1/2 cup berry vinaigrette
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 2 heads Boston Bibb lettuce (rinsed)
- In a food processor, combine thawed raspberries, blueberries, balsamic vinegar, and agave. Blend until smooth. If you want a dressing without the fruit seeds, use a strainer or sieve to remove seeds.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine quinoa, cashews, fresh blackberries, fresh raspberries, and feta. Toss to combine all ingredients. Slowly pour in salad dressing and toss again.
- Divide up Boston Bibb lettuce into individual cups and place on a plate or cookie sheet. Scoop 1/3 cup of the quinoa salad into each lettuce cup. Before serving, drizzle a little more salad dressing on top of the lettuce cups. Refrigerate until ready to eat.