Fruit and Nut Quinoa Salad Recipe
An unusual Fruit and Nut Quinoa Salad Recipe from Dorie Greenspan hit the mark with a variety of textures, flavors, and colors.
If you like beautiful salads with nutritional benefits, this Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, cherries, and apricots will dazzle your taste buds!
Why You’ll Love this Quinoa Salad Recipe
- I was introduced to quinoa about 12 years ago by Dorie Greenspan, cookbook author, and was an instant fan. It’s slightly nutty and chewy, and a great base for a salad.
- It’s loaded with your favorite dried fruit and nuts (use what YOU love) and dressed with a tasty vinaigrette.
- Quinoa is super nutritious and makes this a tasty meatless lunch or dinner. And if you don’t add honey to the dressing, it will be vegan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is an ancient pseudo-grain with so many nutritional benefits. It’s actually a complete protein on its own, with a high magnesium content which is supposed to help combat stress. The ancient Incas called it the “Mother Grain.” So load up on this salad!
How Do You Pronounce Quinoa?
Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-wah. Just two syllables.
Do You Need to Rinse Quinoa Before Cooking?
Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can taste bitter or soapy. Boxed quinoa may already be rinsed, plus the other ingredients in the recipe may be flavorful enough that you don’t notice any bitterness.
It’s up to the cook whether to do this extra step or not, but that step is included in this recipe.
What is a Quinoa Salad?
A quinoa salad can be a green salad with quinoa added to the mix or a salad where quinoa is the main ingredient. Tossed in a dressing, a quinoa salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.
How to Season a Quinoa Salad?
Like cooking rice or couscous, cooking in salted water is crucial. This will infuse the grains with a subtle salty flavor, otherwise, the quinoa will be bland. Additional salt, pepper, and flavorings can be added as the salad is tossed.
How Long Does a Quinoa Salad Last?
Since all the ingredients will hold up well mixed with a vinaigrette, this salad stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What Can You Add to a Quinoa Salad?
Treat quinoa like couscous or rice. Any salad recipes you have that use either of those as a base ingredient can be adapted to use with quinoa. I’ve gone Mediterranean with Greek salad ingredients. The options are endless.
This recipe begins by cooking quinoa with a technique similar to cooking rice, then adding a variety of dried fruits, nuts, and herbs, and, finally, tossing it with a lemony vinaigrette with a touch of ginger. I served it straight up, but you can also put it over a bed of fresh greens with a dollop of yogurt.
How to Make a Quinoa Salad
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain.
- Boil in salted water, and simmer until the quinoa is tender. PRO-Tip; When the quinoa is done, you’ll see a little white ring around each grain. It should take 12-15 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Drain the cooked quinoa and cool to room temperature.
- Place it in a serving bowl and season with salt if needed and black pepper.
- Add the dried fruit, nuts, and seeds and stir together.
- Make and add the vinaigrette.
- Toss and let rest for an hour before serving.
Tips for Making the Best Quinoa Salad
- Rinse your quinoa before using to remove any bitterness.
- Make sure to cook the quinoa in salted water so the salt infuses into the grains.
- Add your favorite dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. I used dried cranberries, apricots, cherries along with pepitas, sunflower seeds, and slivered almonds. Raisins, chopped prunes, cashews and/or walnuts would work well, too.
- Use regular quinoa, red quinoa, or both!
- Make sure to use fresh herbs not dried. Even parsley works well.
- If you don’t want to purchase walnut or hazelnut oil, just use additional olive oil.
- Dorie has you shake up all the dressing ingredients in a jar. Whisking works well, too.
As is typical, my very suspicious family didn’t want to try new grains, especially those with funky additives like dried fruits and nuts. Sheesh. But it just makes more for the cook. Lucky me. This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (affiliate link), a cookbook no home should be without.
- Quinoa – Regular white quinoa is perfect, but other varieties work well, too. Always rinse before using.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Dried Fruit – Use 3 of your favorites, or just one or two. Chop large fruit into bite sized pieces.
- Seeds and Nuts – Again use 3 of your favorites. Toast your nuts briefly to bring out the essential oils.
- Chopped Fresh Herbs, optional. I used parsley with my first batch
- Lemon Juice – Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best quality and flavor. I keep some on hand in the freezer.
- Ground ginger
- Olive oil – If you don’t use frequently, check the label for the expiration date.
- Walnut or Hazelnut Oil – Highlights the nutty flavors in the salad, but you can always substitute olive oil.
- Honey – My addition to Dorie’s recipe, but I recommend using honey to taste as it adds some sweetness to balance the acidity of the lemon juice.
You May Also Like:
- BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad from What’s Gaby Cooking
- Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Quinoa Black Bean Salad
- Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- More of the Best Salad Recipes
- Plus More Easy Healthy Recipes
- 1 ½ cups quinoa (white, red or ¾ cup of each)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 ⅓ cups mixed moist, plump dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries and/or cut up apricots
- 1 cup mixed seeds and nuts, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and chopped or slivered almonds, cashews and/or walnuts
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro, or mint, or a combination
- juice of one lemon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 T walnut or hazelnut oil
- 2-3 teaspoons honey, to taste
- Rinse the quinoa under cold running water and drain.
- Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, generously salt, and stir in the quinoa.
- Reduce the heat and let the quinoa simmer gently for 12-15 minutes, or until the grains have softened (look for a little white ring around each grain, a tip that the quinoa is fully cooked).
- Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water. Cool to room temperature.
- Turn the quinoa into a serving bowl and season it to taste with salt and pepper.
- Gently mix in the dried fruits, nuts, and herbs
- .Put the lemon juice, ginger, olive oil, and nut oil in a small bowl. Whisk together. Taste and add honey, salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the quinoa and toss together.
- Let stand at room temperature for about an hour before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 9gSugar: 22gProtein: 11g
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