Moroccan-Inspired Quinoa Salad

This tangy, protein-packed salad is so good, so easy, so healthy.  There is nothing to hate about this dish - your taste-buds, body and family will thank you for putting this on the table!

Moroccan-Inspired Quinoa Salad (inspired by this recipe at Fun Intelligent Training)

1 c. quinoa (use red for more visual impact) 2 t. extra-virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced 1/2 c. dried apricots, coarsely chopped 2 c. low sodium chicken or vegetable broth 1/4 t. salt, plus more to taste 2/3 c. Moroccan Lemon Dressing, (recipe follows), divided 2 tomatoes, chopped 2 (5 oz.) boxes baby spinach 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.  Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sprinkle with salt.  Cook, stirring constantly, until translucent.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add apricots, quinoa, broth and 1/4 t. salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Let cool for 10 minutes, or, if preparing ahead of time, place in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Just before serving, toss the spinach and chopped tomato with the remaining dressing in a large bowl. Divide the spinach among 4 plates. Mound the quinoa salad on the spinach and sprinkle with almonds.

Make Ahead Tip: This is a great make-ahead dish, and the quinoa salad is delicious cold from the fridge, room-temp. or heated slightly.  If you're making ahead, cover and refrigerate the quinoa and dressing separately for up to 2 days.

Moroccan Lemon Dressing

1/4 c. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 T. nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat kefir
1 1/2 t/ honey
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 t. Kosher salt, or to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk lemon juice, yogurt, honey, cumin, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl until blended. Slowly whisk in oil so that the dressing becomes smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.