This gluten-free, salad-to-go is filled with fiber, flavor, and heart-healthy omega-3 fat, and whether you’re a busy mom or a school-age kid, I am pretty sure you’ll look forward to eating it for lunch!
My new recipe was sponsored by the California Walnut Commission.
Did you know that walnuts are the only nut—and one of the few foods—significantly high in omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid? One ounce (about a handful) has 2.5 grams of ALA, which is more than the recommended daily amount of 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women.
A few months ago, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released. The new recommendations from the USDA encourage all of us to reduce saturated fat intake and shift to foods high in the healthy polyunsaturated fats. Choosing plant-based foods like walnuts is a great way to help you meet that goal.
Walnuts are versatile. I love to grab a handful for a snack, add them to breakfast favorites like fruit & yogurt parfaits and overnight oats, and incorporate them into pancakes, cookies and quick breads. They also provide an easy way to add more plant-based protein to things like salads and pasta dinners.
This recipe is super easy. Start with two wide mouth, pint-size Mason jars, and fill each with light Italian salad dressing, quinoa, and white beans (AKA cannellini beans). Mix together and then keep building …
… with diced red bell peppers, feta cheese (that’s optional), and quartered kalamata olives …
… and then add the final touches with fresh basil and toasted, chopped walnuts. Yes please!
Each serving has over a day’s worth of good-for-you ALA omega-3 fat, 11 grams of filling fiber, and 14 grams of protein.
- Serves: 2
- Serving size: 1 jar
- Calories: 460
- Fat: 29g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Sodium: 590mg
- Fiber: 11g
- Protein: 14g
- 2 tablespoons light Italian salad dressing
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
- ½ cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper (cut into ½-inch dice)
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
- 12 pitted kalamata olives, quartered (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ to ½ cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
- 2 ounces lightly toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
- Divide the salad dressing evenly between two wide mouth, pint-size Mason jars and top each evenly with the quinoa and white beans. Use a fork to stir the ingredients together until the quinoa and beans are well coated with the dressing.
- Continue layering each with the bell peppers, feta cheese as desired, olives, basil leaves, and the walnuts.
- Secure the lid and refrigerate. To serve, shake until the ingredients are combined, and then pour into individual bowls, or eat directly from the jar with a spoon or fork.
Ever wonder how walnuts are harvested? Check out this fun video!