Thursday, 16 June 2011


ok ok, seeing as thought I've had so much interest in this salad since posting its deliciousness on facebook a mere 24 hours ago, here's the recipe!  It is now my salad of 2011 - meaning any barbecue, potluck, bring something food event we're invited to in the next while will have this salad.  Its the perfect summer meal - light and fresh with a good crunch and quite filling!

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)
Sea Salt
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 was THAT!

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