I'm in a salad craze right now, trying new combinations and ways to increase my nutrient density in my meals. Since nectarines are in season and beautiful, I decided to make a nectarine salad today with a tangerine vinaigrette. There's something incredible that happens when nectarines and vegetables come together with a citrus dressing. Not only does this nectarine salad recipe taste like sunshine, but it also is a nutrient-dense superstar.
Recently, I learned how to toast quinoa rather than cook it in water for a crunchy salad topping. Now that I've toasted quinoa, I'm obsessed.
What is nutrient density?
For foods to rank as nutrient-dense, they are calculated by the ratio of quality ingredients, containing more beneficial nutrients compared to calories. Dr. Furhman developed the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index to measure the level of nutrient-dense foods ranking their quality compared to other foods.
What is toasted quinoa?
As crazy as it sounds, I've never heard of toasted quinoa. Then, last week, while eating at one of my favorite vegan restaurants, I ate this fabulous nutty mixture on top of a casserole; when I asked what this wonderful nutty mixture was, I learned about toasting quinoa. So, I tried it myself. Now, I'm hooked.
Although most quinoa is prewashed, washing quinoa gets rid of a funky bitter-tasting substance called saponin. Since rinsing quinoa is the prequel to toasting it, washing it for toasted quinoa is part of the process.
However, if the quinoa is prewashed, rinsing quickly versus prewashing is a quick remedy to washing the quinoa.
- If using prewashed quinoa, measure it, transfer it to a medium-sized bowl, and fill it with water. Next, pour the contents into a fine-mesh sieve, then rinse the quinoa again with fresh water and set aside.
- When using unwashed quinoa, measure the quinoa and place it into a bowl. Then, fill it with clean water and allow it to soak for approximately 20-30 minutes. Now, use a wire whisk to swish the quinoa around to remove the soapy residue that comes out of the quinoa. Next, pour the contents into a fine-mesh sieve, then rinse the quinoa again with fresh water and set aside.
- Once the quinoa is washed or rinsed, it's time to toast it.
- Using a large non-stick pan, heat the pan to medium-low. Put the rinsed quinoa into the saute pan, creating a thin layer. Shake the pan to level out the quinoa.
- Once the quinoa gets hot, the water is absorbed, and the quinoa starts making a popping noise.
- Keep moving the quinoa around the pan with a wooden spoon until the quinoa grains start to brown. It browns quickly, so don't leave it unattended.
- When the quinoa is brown and smells nutty, please remove it from the pan from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
- In fact, if you make a bunch in advance, you can store it in a sealed container, such as a ball jar in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How to cut and pit a nectarine
One of the easiest tricks I've learned about cutting nectarines and peaches is by slicing and twisting. I recommend using a sharp knife and begin from the stem and cut through until you feel the pit all the way around the fruit. Then, with both hands, twist each side, leaving two sides of the nectarine, one with a pit inside.
Another trick is to make sure the nectarines or peaches are at room temperature. Cold, refrigerated nectarines, for instance, are difficult to cut and twist. However, nectarines kept on the counter at room temperature twist nicely.
Next, use the tip of the knife you wedge the pit from the inside of the nectarine and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Nectarine Salad Ingredients
First, I chose a variety of greens for my nectarine salad recipe for a nutrient-dense super salad.
- Savoy cabbage (420 ANDI)
- Romaine lettuce(389 ANDI)
- Shredded Broccoli (the stem) (376 ANDI)
Of course, I chopped everything small to make this salad easier to eat!
Then I added a bunch of other ingredients for both color, nutrition, and density.
- Green Onions (50 ANDI)
- Dried cranberries (34 ANDI)
- Nectarines (41 ANDI)
- Baby bell peppers (258 ANDI)
- English Cucumbers (50 ANDI)
- Grilled Corn (44 ANDI)
- Toasted quinoa (21 ANDI)
- Almonds (optional) (38 ANDI)
And, my favorite part of this nectarine salad recipe is the tangerine vinaigrette dressing. I love making the tasty oil-free dressing, but I also like variety. So, today, I decided to make a tangerine vinaigrette. Using citrus with vinegar enhances flavors. The acidic bite of the citrus accentuates the sweetness of the other fruits and helps bring forward their juices.
My latest passion is roasting citrus until the juices caramelize and the edges brown. So, to get the deepest lemon flavor for my tangerine dressing recipe, I roasted my tangerine with garlic and shallot.
The results will amaze you. Be careful, however, to allow the tangerines to cool before handling them to avoid burning your hands.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Cut the tangerines in half and then cut the bottom of each rind, so the tangerines lay flat cut side up.
- Place all the garlic cloves and shallot in an aluminum foil bundle
- Roast for 15 minutes
Once roasted, allow the tangerines to cool before handling. Beware, the juice and rind juices quickly, so don't be surprised.
Tangerine Vinaigrette Dressing for Nectarine Salad
- White balsamic vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper to taste
What can I substitute for dried cranberries?
- Raisins, dried figs, or fresh cranberries scan replace dried cranberries in a recipe.
Are dried cranberries oil-free?
- Believe it or not, most dried cranberries are made with sunflower oil, but there are oil-free dried cranberries. Make sure you read the label. My Berry Organics Store sells unsweetened cranberries without oil.
What can I use instead of white balsamic vinegar?
- Although balsamic vinegar is dark in color, it is a natural substitute for white balsamic vinegar. White wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar are also great substitutes.
- Grilled corn is my favorite, but canned or frozen cooked corn is a simple substitute.
- Make sure to allow the roasted tangerines to cool completely before handling.
- Adding tangerine zest (before roasting) strengthens the taste of the dressing.
- Allow the dressing to chill after making, so the flavors develop in the refrigerator.
- Because of the base ingredients, the salad may be dressed and tossed ahead of time without wilting the ingredients.
- The nectarine salad recipe lasts 3-5 days, dressing ahead of time, in the refrigerator.
Do you need more salad in your life? Then, check out these salad recipes!
- Fall Harvest Salad Recipe
- Asian Crunch Salad
- Citrus Salad Recipe
- Blueberry Salad Recipe with Blueberry Vinaigrette
- Chopped Kale Salad
- How To Make Mango Kale Salad With Cilantro & Lime Dressing
- Charred Corn Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Salad Recipe
- Fattoush Salad Recipe
- Quinoa Greek Salad
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂