This Apple Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Cranberries is the perfect quinoa salad recipe for fall and winter! With a deliciously tangy apple cider vinegar dressing, this easy quinoa salad will become a fall staple recipe.
This Apple Quinoa Salad is a refreshing salad that is perfect for any occasion. It is packed with nutrients and flavor and is sure to please everyone at the table. It can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. So, if you are looking for a delicious salad to serve at your next gathering, look no further than this delicious salad.
In this quinoa salad, we've paired fresh chopped apples with pecans, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a maple vinaigrette.
This salad just screams fall, doesn't it?!
We also threw in some chopped spinach to add some green to the salad, but you could also use kale or arugula if you prefer.
The flavors of this salad ended up work so well together.
The tart but sweet apples are the star of the show, supported by the rich buttery flavor of the roasted pecans, the sweet dried cranberries, and the tangy goat cheese. The maple vinaigrette also works well in this salad.
This would be a lovely side dish for some late fall grilling and also made for a delicious light lunch.
Ingredients for Goat Cheese Apple Cranberry Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa: Quinoa is an incredibly versatile seed that's packed with protein and amino acids and makes for a great standalone dish or ingredient to complement other dishes.
- Vegetable broth: This is used to cook the quinoa and can be easily swapped out for water or another type of broth.
- Apples: Apples add a lovely sweetness and crunch to this salad. You can use any type of apple you like, but I prefer to use a firmer variety like Granny Smith apples.
- Pecans: Pecans give this salad a lovely nutty flavor and add some healthy fats. If you're not a fan of pecans, you could also use walnuts or almonds.
- Dried cranberries: Dried cranberries provide a tart sweetness that pairs perfectly with the other flavors in this salad. If you don't have dried cranberries on hand, you could also use raisins or dried cherries.
- Spinach: Spinach is a nutrient-rich green that gives this salad some extra color and texture. You could also use other greens like arugula or kale.
- Goat cheese: Goat cheese brings a lovely creaminess to this salad and can be easily omitted if you're looking for a dairy-free option. If you're not a fan of goat cheese (I love it!), you could omit it altogether or substitute it with feta cheese or blue cheese.
- For the dressing: Apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and cinnamon come together to create a light and refreshing vinaigrette for this salad.
This Apple Cranberry Quinoa Salad makes a great side dish to accompany roasted chicken, turkey, or fish.
Alternatively, this salad can easily be turned into a main dish by adding cooked chicken, salmon, or tofu. It can also be served on its own as a light meal or lunch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This salad can be made up to three days in advance.
Apple cider vinegar is my preferred vinegar for this salad, but you could also use white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar.
Yes, the goat cheese can be omitted or replaced with Daiya if you're looking for a dairy-free or vegan option.
Apple Cranberry Quinoa Salad can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
First, start by cooking the quinoa according to package instructions. I like to use vegetable broth in place of water to give the quinoa some extra flavor.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop the apples, pecans, and cranberries.
Then, make the dressing by whisking together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and cinnamon.
Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to a large bowl along with the chopped apples, pecans, cranberries, spinach, and goat cheese (if using). Pour the dressing over the salad and mix everything together until evenly coated
Apple Quinoa Salad
- For the salad:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 apples diced (you can use your favorite variety)
- ½ cup pecans toasted and roughly chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
- 6 oz goat cheese crumbled
- For the dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- salt to taste
- Bring water or vegetable broth to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa, lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, checking periodically, until all water/broth is absorbed and quinoa has cooked.
- While quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients.
- Chop the apples, pecans, and spinach.
- Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shaking to combine or in a bowl and whisking to mix.
- Once quinoa is finished cooking, combine quinoa with apples, pecans, cranberries, and spinach.
- Toss with dressing.
- Top with goat cheese and serve.