Now that spring has sprung and the weather is changing I am finding myself eating a lot healthier – don’t get me wrong, some unhealthy foods keep finding their way into my snacking, but tons of veggies have made more of an appearance too. Especially roasted veggies – I am loving just defrosting some frozen veggies and tossing them in the oven for dinners, they are just so easy to make and easy to change up with flavors. However, now that spring is bringing back cheaper fresh veggies, salads are making a comeback too! Hope you get to enjoy this vegan and gluten-free Spinach Pesto Salad.
I love salads – like a lot. Usually with more dressing the better. But buying a ton of veggies for salads isn’t always cost effective since I can’t eat them fast enough before the veggies start going bad, and I hate waste – which is the benefit of frozen veggies. Always available. But fresh and yummy is so nice after a winter of soups and roasting. And when the dressing is just a simple pesto? Oh man, so good. This pesto turned out so good from the fresh spinach and basil and tart from all the vinegar from the artichokes and red wine vinegar. Don’t be scared of tart! The pesto soaked into all the warm rice – which I have never had rice and pesto before but oh man, I think I need to make it more it’s so good! – and just glossed over all the veggies that it made the perfect salad. This salad made so much that it would be perfect for a potluck or huge family dinner, or if you didn’t add the mushrooms (which let their liquid go the longer they are in the fridge) it would last a few days in the fridge for healthy salad-snacking. And if you can’t imagine pesto not on a hot dish? Don’t worry – all of these veggies would be amazing sautéed together in a huge pan, cooked rice tossed in and pesto smothered over it all….okay, now I want to have this sautéed up for dinner!
To make this super-simple and semi-quick salad start with the wild rice – it’s the only thing holding up a quick meal! If you have frozen or prepackaged rice then you’re meal will come together a lot quicker! For the rice just dump the rice and water into a pot and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and put a lid on and let cook until the water is gone – about 45 minutes (ugh, the wait!). For the pesto dump in all ingredients into a blender and let whirl. In a large bowl add the rest of the bag of spinach, sliced snap peas, quartered mushrooms, drained artichokes, and tomatoes. Once the rice is done and still hot pour half the pesto over the rice and mix. Dump the rice into the bowl and add the rest of the pesto and mix all together. Enjoy!
Spinach Pesto Salad,
1 Bag Fresh Spinach
1/2 Bag Fresh Snap Peas, sliced
1 Pkg Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
1 Jar Artichokes
1 C Wild Rice, 2 1/2 C Water
1 Container Cherry Tomatoes
3 C Spinach
3/4 C Liquid from Artichokes
1 C Fresh Basil
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp Black Pepper
3/4 C Walnuts
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/4 C Olive Oil
1. In a small pot pour rice and water and turn burner to high. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and put a lid on the pot. Let cook until all water is gone, about 45 minutes.
2. In a blender dump in all pesto ingredients and blend until saucy.
3. In a large bowl dump in the rest of the spinach, the quartered mushrooms, drained artichokes, and the tomatoes.
4. Once the rice is done pour in half the pesto and mix.
5. Dump the rice into the salad bowl with the rest of the pesto and mix well.