Savour The Holidays With A Vibrant Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Welcome the holiday season with this festive and healthy Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad! This delightful dish is bursting with vibrant colours and flavours, perfect for Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah gatherings. The Orange Vinaigrette adds a refreshing citrus touch to make your taste buds sing. Get ready to impress your family and friends with this irresistible recipe!

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)

For the Orange Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and let it cool.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the Orange Vinaigrette. Whisk together the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, constantly whisking to blend the dressing—season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Combine the cooled quinoa, cranberries, toasted pecans, diced red onion, and chopped parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour the Orange Vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to combine.
  4. If using, sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese on top. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend together.
  5. Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy your festive Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad with your loved ones, and make your holiday celebrations even more memorable!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use fresh cranberries instead of dried cranberries?

Fresh cranberries can be pretty tart, so they might not be the best substitute for dried cranberries in this recipe. However, you can use fresh cranberries cooked down with sugar or honey to create a sweeter, softer cranberry mixture.

Is this salad suitable for vegans?

The salad can be made vegan by omitting the goat cheese or substituting it with a vegan cheese alternative. Additionally, use a vegan-friendly sweetener, like agave syrup or maple syrup, instead of honey in the Orange Vinaigrette.

Can I freeze this Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad?

While you can freeze the cooked quinoa, we don’t recommend freezing the entire salad. The texture and quality of the other ingredients, like the nuts and dried cranberries, may not hold up well when frozen and thawed. Instead, prepare a fresh batch when needed or store it in the refrigerator for a few days.

How can I add more protein to this salad?

To boost the protein content of this salad, you can add ingredients like grilled chicken, baked tofu, chickpeas, or even canned tuna. This will create a more filling and well-rounded meal for lunch or dinner.

Is this Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad gluten-free?

Yes, this salad is naturally gluten-free, as quinoa is a gluten-free grain. However, always double-check the labels on other ingredients, like the mustard in the Orange Vinaigrette, to ensure they are also gluten-free if you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

What is the best way to toast the pecans?

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and lightly golden.

This Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette is delicious and packed with nutrients, making it a perfect addition to any holiday feast. The delightful combination of flavours and textures will leave everyone asking for seconds. So go ahead, give this festive dish a try, and let it become a holiday staple at your table!

Rusty Burlington

Author

  • Rusty Griswold

    Since 2015, I have been building my light display to celebrate the holiday season and experimenting with various recipes to bring people together around the table. I have learned many do's and don'ts in both areas along the way, and share them with everyone via the rustygriswold.ca website.

    https://rustygriswold.ca info@rustygriswold.ca M Mike
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