Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pecans, Dried Cranberries and Gouda
serves 6 as a main course or 10 as a side dish
1 1/2 c quinoa (1 box)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lrg red onion - quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 c. arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 c. gouda, finely diced
3 celery ribs, thin sliced
1 large crisp apple (Fuji/Pink Lady/Gala) chopped into 1/2 inch dice
1 c pecans coarsely chopped (the recipe called for walnuts, but I like pecans better!)
1 c. finely diced fennel (anise) *optional
3/4 c dried cranberries
3 tbsp sherry vinegar (I didnt have any so I used a mix of apple cider and red wine vinegars)
fresh ground black pepper
Rinse quinoa with water. Drain. Bring 2 1/2 c. salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa and simmer on medium-low, covered, until the quinoa is tender, but still has bite, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork. Let cool.
While the quinoa is cooking heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around the edges (6-8 minutes). Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl (and believe me, you'll need one!) mix the quinoa, onion, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, pecans, fennel, and cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Let rest a moment, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if the salad seems dry.
I've had this for lunch today and as a side for supper with the family tonight and have it in my reusable lunch container for tomorrows lunch and still have about 1/2 of the salad left! IT IS SOOOO GOOD! Probably the best thing on the menu since the week of Gwenyth Paltrow's Spaghetti Limone Parmaggiano!
...and yes...it was THAT good....lol!