Cooking for Two: Light & Healthy Layered Salad

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

Cooking for two, recipes for two, recipes for two people, layered salad, light and healthy salad, salad for two, cooking for two people, quinoa layered salad, arugula layered salad, asparagus layered saladPin

Learning to cook in smaller portion sizes can be a big adjustment in the empty nest! You don’t want to end up throwing out a bunch of food orĀ having to store lots of leftovers. Also, now that your little excuses have moved out of the house, you may be trying to eat lighter and healthier like we are. Yeah, there’s that. Y’all have been asking me for some perfectly-portioned-for-the-empty-nest recipes, so today, I’m sharing my favorite layered salad recipe with you.

The stars of this recipe are asparagus and quinoa, two nutritional powerhouses. Asparagus is an excellent source of fiber, high inĀ folic acid, and a good source ofĀ potassium, fiber, thiamin, andĀ vitaminsĀ A, B6, and C. Quinoa is a gluten-free, protein-rich grain that’s been hailed as a “super food.” It’s high in fiber, low on the glycemic index, and rich in magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and antioxidants. Best of all, it’s easy to cook! I use this small portion-size rice cooker, which was one of my first empty nester purchases. (At around $15, I couldn’t resist!) The 1:2 ratio for cooking is the same as for rice, and I useĀ Ā½ cup of quinoa to 1 cup water to get a cooked yield of about 2 cups. I usually cook up a batch on Sunday afternoons and use it in salads or my morning cereal for an extra pop of protein.

I’ve been really into layered salads lately because they make a beautiful presentation in a glass bowl and my husband is super impressed with me before he’s even taken a bite! šŸ™‚ Also, I’m one of those people that like to know and see what I’m eating before I eat it, and my taste buds get all excited when something looks really pretty. If you don’t have a glass bowl, you might consider picking up one. They’re not necessarily expensive, and I think it’s one of those small investments, big-bang-for-the-buck kind of items! I ordered this one from Target, and it was under $10.

Suzy’s Layered Salad for Two

1 c. cooked, cooled quinoa
1 c. arugula lettuce, ready to eat
1. c. radicchio lettuce, ready to eat
1 avocado, diced into small cubes
1. Tbsp. lemon juice
12 red mini-cherub tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced, and cooled
1 c. iceberg lettuce
8 asparagus spears, trimmed and steamed for about 1 minute
4 yellow mini-cherub tomatoes,Ā sliced in half lengthwise
Salt & pepper to taste
Your favorite salad dressing

On the bottom of a glass bowl, spoon the quinoa. Layer the arugula and radicchio on top, in that order. Toss the diced avocado in the lemon juice and place it on top of the radicchio. Continue layering in the order listed above, with the red tomatoes, diced chicken breast, and the iceberg lettuce. Add the asparagus spears and yellow tomatoes on top.
Serve. Each person can season to taste and add salad dressing.


Want some more meal ideas and recipes to enjoy in the empty nest? Go to the “Lifestyle” tab on the menu at the top of my website, and use the dropdown menu to click on the “Food” category. Also, I’ve linked some of my favorite “cooking for two” cookbooks below.

What foods have you enjoyed in the empty nest that you didn’t necessarily make when the kids were at home? I’d love to know! Hit me up in the comments, okay? (And if you have a recipe you want to share, go for it!)








(Click on an image for more information.)



custom signature for suzy of empty nest blessed.smallversion

Share this post

Similar Posts


  1. I love empty nest cooking – so much easier (no bags of potatoes to peel) We, too, are eating lighter and salads with meat are a mainstay. This one not only sounds pretty but also delicious. I think this would work perfectly for us. Thanks for the recipe. (And I can’t wait to see your post about what you’re planning for weekend shopping!)

    1. Melody, I hope you love this salad! Let me know what you think, okay? Bob likes it because it’s not to “salady” and it’s hearty enough to fill him up and hold him! Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! Do you have any big plans? Thankful for you! xoxo Suzy

  2. This recipe for two is just up my alley! Pinned for safekeeping…what, not everyone uses Pinterest as storage? ha!

    1. Donna,
      I think it’s so smart that you use Pinterest to keep recipes! I do too! Much easier than the recipe cards our moms had, right? I hope you love this salad! Let me know what you think, okay? Happy Labor Day Weekend! xoxo Suzy

Comments are closed.