Quinoa with Spinach, Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes

The weary traveller descends. Fourteen countries in 7 days. I took the challenge – creating a meal that would assuage jet-lag, boost energy levels and support the immune system.

Jean Georges’ Quinoa and Spinach salad was my inspiration. I upgraded it to a vegan version and used sprouted quinoa instead. Sprouting quinoa increases its enzymatic activity and enhances its B vitamins levels, both which help to elevate energy levels. I swapped the goats cheese for a raw macadamia cheese from Organic Avenue which has the same texture as goats cheese but without the potential mucus forming components of dairy.

Shiitakes help build resistance to stress by strengthening the immune system. They also contain a high concentration of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) which helps support the adrenals.  Beets are rich in iron and Vitamin B6 which are both energy boosting nutrients. If I had dried cherries, I would have tossed them into the salad as well.

Cherries contain melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle, and cell-rejuvenating antioxidants that increase vitality levels.

Photo Credit: Home Cooking by Jean Georges


  • 1/2 cup sprouted quinoa (eg Tru Roots)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 oz macadamia cheese (Organic Avenue) or goats cheese


Toast the quinoa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown – about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of the EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until golden brown – about 8 minutes.

Spoon the warm quinoa and mushrooms over the spinach, then drizzle with the vinegar and remaining 1 tbsp EVOO.  Season with salt and pepper and top with the macadamia/goats cheese. Serves 2