A warm salad: spinach and quinoa topped with sweet pear, crisp walnut pieces and tangy goats cheese, utterly delicious!
Inspired by Chloe (of Nine Grand Student) and her Instagram photo of a fabulous looking warm pear and blue cheese salad, I decided to try out my own version based upon what I had in the kitchen.
It made for a scrumptious salad - warming, filling and full of flavour. Not just that, but also full of goodness with both fruit and greens, protein from the quinoa and plenty of vitamins from the walnuts.
I love pear in a main course - it lends a wonderful sweetness without being overwhelming and it's absolutely delicious warm. What also works well in this dish is the variety of textures - soft pear, crunchy walnuts and smooth cheese.
It's a quick and easy meal to whip up; if you're just cooking for one it shouldn't take more than about 15 minutes thanks to the small quantity of quinoa to cook up - it'll take a little longer if you're multiplying the portions but it will be worth the wait!
For a lighter dish, perhaps as a starter or light lunch, you could forgo the quinoa but I find it gives a good deal more substance to the meal.
As always, there are many ways to vary this up - try blue cheese rather than goats cheese, or swap the spinach for rocket.
Caramelised Pear & Walnut Salad (Serves 1)
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 pear, diced
1 handful of chopped walnuts
25g goat's cheese
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with 75ml water and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring regularly until all the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, slice the pear into bitesize chunks. Warm a frying pan over a medium heat, then sprinkle the sugar into it. Add the pear and walnuts and cook until the pear is softening and caramelised.
To cook the spinach, I normally just microwave for 45 seconds, but you can also wilt it in a saucepan or by putting in a colander placed over a pan of steaming water.
Mix the spinach and quinoa together in a bowl, then top with the pear, walnuts and crumble over or add cubes of the goat's cheese.