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Protein Bowl Warm Salad

With Maple Mustard Dressing


It has come to my attention that I’m getting older. Little things remind me that I am not physically the same as a few years ago. Sore shoulder, a knee that clicks, stiff elbow and a plethora of other nagging ailments - to name a few. As I listen to podcasts on healthy aging, one thing comes up repeatedly, maintain muscle. The evidence points to exercise as one of the key ways. One thing I need to promote muscle is to eat enough quality protein. When I do exercise, especially strength training, the protein needs be available for my body to rebuild itself. And, as it goes, the older I get, the less able my body is to rebuild muscle mass. This increases the importance of fueling with proper nutrition to achieve a ripe old age.

There are plenty of arguments as to how much protein, how often we add it to our plate. Some of the formulas are too complex and rigid for anyone but the competitive athlete; this I am not. So I make an effort to get good quality protein a couple of times a day, especially after a rigorous workout or heavy outdoor activities.

I have put together a recipe that I return to time after time for it hits protein with good fats, some greens and is light in carbohydrates; it is gluten free to boot!

PROTEIN BOWL WARM SALAD with Maple-Mustard Dressing


  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 four to five ounce pieces of salmon, wild caught if possible

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed

  • 1/2 cup any color quinoa

  • one medium red onion

  • baby arugula, washed and ready to eat

  • 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice mix

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper


  • put the eggs in a small pot, cover with water and salt the water so that it tastes like the ocean. Add a little white vinegar and quickly bring to a boil

  • when the the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and leave in the hot water for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and plunge the eggs in ice water to stop the cooking process. Leave the eggs in the ice bath for 15 minutes. The desired result is to have a set egg white and a mostly set yolk that is still a bit jammy. After the eggs have cooled, peel off the shell and set them aside.

  • peel the red onion and slice it into 1/4 inch thick rings. Bring to a boil the cider vinegar and water along with the pickling spice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Mix in the red onion slices, breaking them apart into individual rings, return to a boil and remove from the heat. Toss a few times and then let them cool in the liquid

  • rinse the quinoa under cold water then add to a saucepan with one cup of lightly salted boiling water and a teaspoon of olive oil. Then simmer for about fifteen minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat

  • lightly oil a small pan or pie plate and place the salmon portions, skin side down, then coat the fish with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish in a pre-heated 425 F degree oven for 6-7 minutes or until done to however you prefer. Remove from the oven and prepare to serve

  • warm the edamame in a microwave for a minute or so to warm them for service

For the dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper


  • place all of the ingredients in a shaker jar and vigorously shake just before using

For Service:

  • in two individual serving bowls, start by putting a small handful of arugula in the bottom.

  • divide the quinoa equally over the arugula

  • place the cooked salmon on the quinoa, cut the eggs in half and place along side of the salmon

  • cut the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh in one piece if you can, then slice it into 1/4 inch slices and add to the bowl and then find room for the edamame

  • drizzle each bowl with the maple-mustard dressing

  • top the salad with some pickled red onion rings and the toasted pumpkin seeds

This is a great template for a protein bowl. You can make all sorts of substitutions and exchanges along the way. You don’t have to be getting on in years to appreciate how delicious this is. Enjoy!