Quinoa Mango Spinach Salad

This quinoa mango spinach salad is filled with healthy ingredients for a vegetarian protein packed meal.

I’m halfway through the first stage of NROLFW and wanted to do a quick update on my thoughts/progress so far with the plan.

Stage 1 calls for 16 workouts, alternating between workout A & workout B. After 3 full weeks, I’ve completed 8 of the workouts at the “2 set” phase and just today moved into the second half of stage 1 which increases the sets to 3.

I’m not going to do any updates on measurements yet, I’ll wait until the end of stage 1 for that. Sorry, no awkward full body muscle pictures today.

In general, I love it! In these 3 weeks, I’ve learned to live and function in a perpetual state of soreness (in a good way!). This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a strength training program before. I seriously look forward to each and every workout. I think a few things are contributing to that:

  • The way the program is structured it encourages you to add heavier weights as the workouts progress.
  • It gives you “beginner” moves when necessary so it’s easy to tell when you’re gaining strength because they start to feel easy and you move onto the “real” moves (push-ups are an example here).
  • I think the emphasis on dumbbells and barbells instead of machines makes it more easily recognizable when you can handle increased weight.
  • I already see a difference in muscle definition. Positive reinforcement baby!

NROLFW updateNROLFW update

These are me not flexing. I’m going to call them my “rolling hills” and I’m pretty sure they weren’t there before. Well on my way to looking like the book cover.


Click here for before pictures (granted, I am flexing in those so they’re not totally comparable).

A few fun facts:

-Prone jackknife is my favorite move of this stage.

-Step-ups are my least favorite (boring and tedious)

-I can now do 3 sets of 10 full push-ups!

Diet wise I haven’t been doing anything out of the ordinary besides being more cognizant of my protein intake. I will try to have a protein smoothie or something high in protein after each session. It doesn’t always happen, but I’d say about 75% of the time.

protein smoothie

Today’s smoothie, which overflowed the second I put the camera down and which Ginger promptly licked up.

Stay tuned after another 3 weeks for a full Stage 1 recap.


Now, let’s talk about mangoes. Again.

I actually bought 2 mangoes for last week’s Mango black bean salad but only ended up using one because the other was hard as a rock. 6 days later after hanging out next to the bananas getting all ripe, it was begging to be used. After reading Jenna’s recap on her fruit detox, I had been craving fruit and couldn’t even think about “real” dinner foods. I just wanted fruit. The practical side of me kicked in though and somehow I ended up with this.

Quinoa mango spinach salad

Quinoa, mango, spinach salad.

quinoaQuinoa mango spinach saladQuinoa mango spinach salad

With a piece of whole wheat sunflower seed bread. Delicious, light dinner.

Quinoa Mango Spinach Salad

Quinoa Mango Spinach Salad

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This quinoa mango spinach salad is filled with healthy ingredients for a vegetarian protein packed meal.


  • 3 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 1 mango chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt & pepper


  1. Rinse quinoa and toast with coconut oil before adding water and cooking normally (optional, but recommended).
  2. Combine next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. When quinoa is finished cooking, add to bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Whisk together last 5 ingredients and pour over salad. Toss.
  5. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.


Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen

What’s the weirdest craving you’ve ever given into for dinner (or any meal)?


  1. kari @running ricig

    haha! your rolling hills. now where are the flexing pictures so we can see your deadly guns?

  2. Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg

    Sounds like it’s going great! I’ve been trying to do more strength-training, but I feel a little disorganized in my method….which is to say that I don’t really have much of a method or plan at all. I might have to check this out!

  3. Tiff

    I looooove that commercial. The never-works-out-ever hubby didn’t think it was funny, but I was definitely laughing. Way to go with the workouts!

  4. Kim (Book Worm Runs)

    Woo-hoo. Look at you and your guns!! ;) I have to agree about the step ups…not a big fan of those either. The prone jackknife is fun because it is different and challenging but doing 3 sets of 12 yesterday was HARD! Lol! Definitely need to work on my core strength ;)

  5. Kat @ Living Like the Kings

    I love the update – your can totally see more definition in the muscle. I’m very jealous. I need toning. Bad. Like, real bad. Also, some time would be good. Can you add another 2-3 hours on to each day for me? Thanks!

    As for the meal – Chinese or McD’s. How horrible is that?!

  6. Hayley (Oat Couture)

    Haha, that advert! :D And your arms are looking super toned, without flexing! Nice work! :) The salad looks good… ahh salads, they feel like a distant memory at the moment! :/ Never seen red quinoa before either… does it taste much different??

  7. Cait's Plate

    Holy crap! I’m so jealous of your arms! I definitely suck at (and don’t know how to) strength train. I usually consider yoga or pilates strength training and call it a day. Maybe I should get that book!!

    As for the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten for dinner…I’d have to probably say cookies or ice cream. Less weird and more just lazy. Haha

    Congrats on the strength training success!

  8. Alexis

    I have tiny rolling hills but yours rock! Fitness books have never worked for me though….but maybe I should check this out! Thanks for the recap.

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