Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strawberry, Beef & Quinoa Salad

I have this friend who doesn't like leftovers. She thinks they're disgusting and should be banished to the dog's bowl or the trash bin. She won't take food home from restaurants and balks when her parents try to feed her extra pasta from the night before. If I'm not mistaken, she won't even eat meat that has been previously frozen. Leftovers have a very unique place in my house. No one really complains about eating them once the next day, but anything beyond that is a hassle. My mom goes around actively suggesting that we eat them for lunch or dinner, dropping hints as we forage through the fridge. Sometimes she'll put them out onto the counter--a not so subtle reminder of their existence. She's relentless, isn't she?

I fully admit that while leftovers do serve a purpose during busy times, I get kind of sick of them and quickly. To combat this, I try to think of creative and different ways to eat them so I don't feel like I'm eating the same thing three days in a row. That's where this salad comes in. The leftover in this salad is the beef--the residuals of roasted tri tip from last night's dinner. The glut of strawberries currently residing in the fridge made me think of the spinach and strawberry salads that have become more common recently. I don't like common, but I do like good. This is a warm salad--with wilted spinach, basil, quinoa, red onion, beef, strawberries and lots of cracked pepper. I wish I had some goat cheese, but it was still delicious without it. However, I think that in the future all spinach and strawberry salads should be served warm--the softness and sweetness of the strawberries improve the flavor exponentially.

Before we move on, I would like to let you know that this was one of those posts where everything preceding it seemed to go slightly wrong. The tri tip was pulled from the barbecue too early despite an instant-read thermometer's declaration otherwise. My quinoa, albeit easily fixed, was too soggy. And then. Then I decided I was going to make a basil vinaigrette. Let's just say that unless you're making a large quantity of said dressing, use dried basil. Why? Trying to puree a few tablespoons of dressing made up of fresh basil, olive oil and red wine vinegar doesn't really work. You will end up with soggy pieces of basil in green liquid. Yuck. To top this all off, my camera settings were mysteriously altered and, when combined with the crappy lighting my house so wonderfully boasts, I got one decent photo and I don't even like it. I need a cookie.

Strawberry, Beef & Quinoa Salad
For One

2 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3 oz. beef, cooked & thinly sliced*
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled & sliced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
4 basil leaves, chopped
cracked pepper

*Beef should be seasoned liberally with salt and pepper and cooked to desired doneness.

Heat large sautee pan to medium. Throw in spinach and stir around for 3 minutes to begin wilting. Toss in strawberries, red onion and quinoa. If beef is not warm, toss that in too, otherwise keep to the side so you don't overcook. When spinach is wilted and other items have been warmed, remove from heat. Toss in basil and beef and top with lots of black pepper.

Dressing Suggestions: Balsamic vinegar or 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. pepper flakes. Or whatever else you think sounds good.


Victoria K. said...

I heart quinoa :) It's also fun to say, haha. Nice salad!


What a great combination!

Jean said...

My grandfather and my father both aren't leftover fans. I don't mind them and will eat certain dishes a few nights in a row. For most, though, I'm with you on creating something new out of the old.

This salad doesn't scream leftovers to me at all--the components go so well together. I love warm salads and the spinach/strawberry/feta combo is one of my favorites. Throw in some candied walnuts, yum. That said, your version is a complete meal on a plate. The beef looks great to me, especially with the red onions!

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I love fruit in salads! In Italy we usually put oranges and similar. Never tried the strawberries...I'll have to now

The Duo Dishes said...

Leftovers are the saving grace of cooking. It's nice to eat a good meal more than once...or twice. Oh, and all the little foils in the kitchen happen frequently for us. The final salad was delicious, so you're all good.

Monet said...

I used to not be a fan of leftovers, but I too have found that taking "leftover" food and turning it into something new is a great way to combat throwing away excess. This looks great...I love the combo of strawberries and quinoa!

Baking Barrister said...

@Duo Dishes - I sometimes make food specifically with leftovers in mind, but it has to be something I really enjoy. Or sometimes I make enough for a few meals and freeze single portions. And It's nice to know that I'm not the only one with kitchen deficiencies.

@Jean I almost threw in the candied pecans from the Waffle post, but decided against it. Should have done it!

@Money - throwing away food makes me sad, so I try. It helps when the food is separate items, not one big dish.

Anna said...

Mmmmm...what a delicious looking salad. Loved the combination.

Subterfuge Diva said...

Hoped that cookie helped! There is absolutely nothing NOT to like in this salad, the flavor combinations and colors are totally ace. In fact, now you've inspired me to go and rummage through my fridge for leftovers and try to come up with a brilliant creation as this!

ravienomnoms said...

I love the fruit and meat in the salad! Looks like a great combination of flavors!

julie said...

What a delicious looking salad. Strawberries are one of my favorite additions in a spinach salad! There are a few leftovers we never get tired of, but for the majority one more meal is plenty.

City Share said...

I know a couple of people that don't eat leftovers, and my husband and I were just commenting that we are so happy not to be a part of that club. So many things taste better the next day! This salad looks great, and if it uses up leftovers - all the better.

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

Since I'm Asian, throwing away leftovers isn't an ideal. You did a great job. The salad looked tasty and fresh. Thanks for sharing your tips and suggestions!

Sara said...

Even though you don't like the picture, I think you make one great looking salad!

I order big meals at restaurants just so I can have leftovers. I'd much rather have leftover Pad Thai than a boring sandwich...for example. said...

Okay, I know this is really strange but I've never ever thought of putting strawberries in a salad and now you have my eyes sparkling and I'm a little dazed. MIRACLES! Strawberries in salads! Faint!

[Forgive my dramatization. It's more fun that way.]

Alexandra Ricaurte said...

I love strawberries in salads! So easy to make and it looks absolutely delicious and beautiful!

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