It’s Fall, Ya’ll! Give Your Salads a Burst of Autumn Flavor.

Well hello, strangers!  I’m back after a little two-and-a-half month hiatus.  Sorry to leave you hanging, but this girl’s world was turned upside down with some exciting news in late June; a little mini health nut is on the way!  That’s right, I’m expecting my first baby in March.  Nine weeks of serious morning sickness kept me away from the computer and close to the porcelain throne, hence the lack of blog updates.  But now I’m feeling better and ready to get back to it.  Since eating healthy is now a bigger priority than ever before for me, I’m hoping to share a lot of nutritious recipes and other great information with you in the coming months (especially now that I can think about food without losing my lunch!).

After a long, scorching summer in Georgia, my favorite time of the year is finally upon us.  Don’t you just love the fall?  I adore everything about the season, from chilly mornings to football games to pumpkin spice lattes.  In case you’re not yet in the spirit, I’ll be sharing some healthy autumn recipes to inspire you in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, be sure to revisit these yummy fall recipes I posted last year!

Pumpkin Raisin Bars

Wanicot Chicken Delight

Naughty and Nice Sweet Potato Chili

White Bean Chicken Chili

Roasted Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato Gratin

Autumn Burst Salad

So I found this salad recipe when I was searching for a fun fall dish to bring to my book club last night.  It was a hit with the girls, so I knew it was worthy of sharing with you.  I took it from one of my favorite blogs, Gluten-Free Goddess, and made a few tweaks to make it my own.  When the weather starts cooling off, I’m not always in the mood for a cold salad.  Adding some grains to this dish makes it more of a comfort food, and you can feel free to serve it room temperature or chilled.  (It kind of reminds me of the marinated cous-cous salad I shared with you last year.)

Fall is the time for colorful and savory foods!

Ingredients (Makes 6 side dish servings):

Salad
1 cup organic quinoa, cous-cous or bulgur (Use quinoa if you’re on a gluten-free diet or just looking to boost your protein intake.)
2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear or apple, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste

Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Sliced apples/pears and nuts add a little autumn pizazz to a hum-drum salad.

You can make this salad different every time by switching up the variety of grain, fruit and nut you use.

Preparation Instructions:

  • Prepare quinoa, cous-cous or bulgur according to the instructions on the package and transfer to a large salad bowl.
  • While your grain is cooking, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.  Begin prepping your other salad ingredients.
  • Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the salad bowl and toss.  Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.

Tip: If you are making this dish ahead of time, I suggest you go ahead and add the dressing to your grain while it’s still warm.  When it cools to room temperature, add in the spinach, chick peas and parsley; toss, cover and chill. Before serving add the pears, and toasted pecans. Taste test and add more seasoning if needed.

You’ll know your quinoa is fully cooked when the germ ring along the outside edge of the grain is visible.

This salad makes for a great light lunch or side dish, and it can be easily shared at fall pot lucks or tailgates.

Fall is definitely in the air and it’s time to start cooking!  I hope you enjoy this recipe and please send your comments my way!

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Filed under Gluten-Free, Recipes

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