So, I know at first glance you're probably wondering what is so special about this salad and you're not alone! While I was honeymooning in Italy and France I had some of the best food of my life and more importantly, some of the best cheese of my life! Now, I usually don't have cheese, or dairy for that matter, in my normal day-to-day diet but you know what they say..." when in Rome do as Romans do". I took full advantage of that saying and indulged quite a bit and it was so worth it! After many nights of eating delicious gelato, I was craving a salad other than the classic Caesar and Caprese salad, I was looking for something fresh and light. Surprisingly the hotel I was staying in had a salad with arugula, sundried tomatoes, walnuts, pecorino cheese, smoked salmon, and quinoa. Yes, they had QUINOA! I was so excited to see quinoa on a menu after not having or seeing it for over a week, I ordered the salad even though I wasn't crazy about the rest of the ingredients. To me, the ingredients didn't make much sense and I was skeptical how they would taste together. Let me tell you...it ended up being one of my favorite meals of my two-week honeymoon!
After ordering it for the second and last time just before we departed the hotel for the next stop on our honeymoon I was so sad I didn't discover it earlier in the trip. I dreamt about this salad until we returned to the States and I knew I had to recreate this salad and share it with everyone I know. The best thing about this salad is that it is EXTREMELY easy to make, I'm talking like five minutes if you keep cooked quinoa in your refrigerator like we do. The combination of the ingredients are purely delectable and even somewhat addicting.
The pecorino cheese we used is very similar to parmesan, in that it has a salty and sharp flavor. It's made from 100% sheep's milk, so when shopping for it make sure you get the real stuff. This cheese with the walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes is the combination that made me fall in love with this salad. I also loved that I was giving my body the nutrients it needed and missed so dearly with the quinoa and arugula.
As we all know, quinoa is loaded with nutrients. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It has two times the fiber of most grains and is rich in Magnesium, Riboflavin and the antioxidant Manganese. Arugula also carries its weight in being a nutritious leafy green. By consuming 2 cups of arugula it will provide 20 percent of vitamin A and over 50 percent of vitamin K needs for the day. It also contains a good amount of vitamin C, folate, and calcium.
This salad will not disappoint! Packed with protein, it is the perfect lunch or dinner for the days you need something quick and easy. And if you're not a fan of smoked salmon, that's okay (Sharon totally gets it)! She thinks it goes great with a piece of grilled chicken.
2 cups Arugula
1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
4-6 halves Sundried Tomatoes, sliced
1/8 cup chopped Walnuts
1/8 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 - 2 T Balsamic Vinegar
1.) In a bowl, toss together arugula and quinoa add sundried tomatoes, and walnuts.
2.) Drizzle olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle cheese on top. ENJOY!