Quinoa salad

As expected, this salad is a hit. It has the sweet, salty, tangy, savory, acidic…all of the flavors. And quinoa is just such a buzzword that people will literally lose their ish when they hear there’s quinoa in the salad they’re eating. Let’s get into it:

quinoa salad.JPG

This could take a while to make, or you can multitask and get it done in 30 minutes. If you’re multitasking, make the different parts in their written order. It’ll save you time.

The Recipe:

The quinoa:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ t red pepper flakes
  • 1t freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock

The pecans:

  • 1 cup pecans (or walnuts are good…or like no nuts if you don’t like them)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ¼ t crushed red pepper
  • ¼ t salt
  • A 350°F oven

The dressing:

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1T honey
  • 1t salt
  • 1T freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil

The rest of the salad:

  • 1 gala, pink lady, or Braeburn apple, chopped (or whatever apple you like, I’m not going to know)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 4oz block of goat cheese, crumbled
  • A 1 inch strip of lemon zest, very finely sliced (or grated if you prefer)
  • Lettuce of your choice (I used a package of 50/50 spring mix/spinach)

*************************************************************************************

The quinoa:

Heat some olive oil in a pot and cook the garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper until the garlic becomes fragrant. Stir in the quinoa and cook 1 minute to toast, stirring constantly.

Add the water and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer, and cook 15 minutes. After cooking, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

The pecans:

Heat all ingredients except pecans in a pan, stirring to combine. Once melted together, add pecans and coat evenly. Spread pecans onto baking pan and cook 15 minutes in a 350°F oven. Let cool.

The dressing:

Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly stream in oil while whisking constantly. The dressing will thicken, and that’s good.

Add shallot, apples, and cranberries to the dressing to marinate (about 10 minutes).

The final steps:

Add the quinoa, lettuce, goat cheese, lemon zest, and pecans to the dressing, shallot, apples, and cranberries. Toss it around and serve it up!

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