Picnic Week: Blue Cheese Spinach and Quinoa Salad

MountainMamaCooks_WisconsinCheese

by Kelley of Mountain Mama Cooks

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is attend the many outdoor concerts held around town, here in Park City, Utah. Nothing beats a cool summer mountain evening of dining outdoors with family and friends. More often than not, we pack a picnic to take with us.

Living in a small ski town, we always run into people we know, and it’s not uncommon for us to make plans to meet other families at the concert. Dinners become family-style, and it’s nice to have something that’s easy to share.

This is one of my favorite salads for picnic dining. It holds up well to being outside, and it gives me the chance to use local greens that grow so well in cooler temperatures. Spinach is one of the first things we see at our local farmers market, and nothing beats freshly picked produce. I like making this salad a few hours before serving. It tastes best when the quinoa can absorb a bit of the vinaigrette – but I don’t add the Blue Cheese or walnuts until just before serving. Make sure to pack extra forks for this one – everyone will want to share!

Blue Cheese Spinach & Quinoa Salad

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons local honey
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

5 oz fresh baby spinach, local if possible
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 cup halved, seedless green grapes
1 cup halved, seedless red grapes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 oz Wisconsin Blue Cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette, put all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a mason jar or other container with tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the salad, put the spinach, quinoa and grapes in a large bowl. Toss with vinaigrette to combine. Chill salad for 2 hours. Just before serving, toss salad with Blue cheese and walnuts.

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