Friday, December 13, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Apples and Dried Cranberries

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, invites to holiday potlucks and parties might be a bit more frequent. I tend to get slightly stressed when I read the words "potluck" on the invitation and my brain automatically goes into recipe thinking mode. This obviously applies to hosting as welll but that's another kind of stress we won't get into today.

When I come across a dish that is easy, tasty, and visually appealing, I immediately bookmark it under "potluck contenders" and today's recipe is such that.

To somewhat prevent the possibility of *ahem* holiday weight gain which has the tendency to creep up on us around this time of year, I present to you a healthy dish that surely will be welcomed with open arms by your guests (and your stomach).

Not only is this salad gorgeous to look at, with the vibrant colors coming from the cranberries, green onions, and apples, but it makes me feel pretty darn good knowing that a dish that tastes as good as it looks is also nutritious. Win win situation over here.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Food52) Yields: 4 servings
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 1/2 cup water, for quinoa
tablespoon of olive oil
small onion, finely diced
stalks of celery, finely diced
cup chopped, toasted almonds
bunch (about 5 to 6) green onions, chopped (green parts only)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped *see note
gala apple (really, any kind of apple will do)
1 large lemon, juiced
Generous drizzle of any kind of oil (I used olive oil)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Rinse quinoa well. Boil the water with a pinch of salt, and add your rinsed quinoa. Turn your stove down to medium-low and let it cook for roughly 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork, and let it cool in the fridge.

2. Preheat a skillet with 1 tbsp of oil and soften your finely chopped onion and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Try not to brown them, 5 to 7 minutes on medium - low heat should do the trick. Set aside in a large salad bowl.

3. Add dried cranberries and green onions to the onion and celery mixture.

4. Core and dice the apple, put your apple chunks in the bowl with the other ingredients. Squeeze the entire lemon over the apple to season the salad and prevent the apple from turning brown.

5. Add your quinoa and almonds to the mixture, drizzle with the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Season with more lemon juice if you like.

6. Mix well and cool completely. Allow the flavors to meld for 20 minutes before serving.

*Craisins also work but they tend to turn the salad a pinkish hue after a few hours.

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