Move over, boring salads. This Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad is not only delicious, but is is loaded with festive flavors that will make any meal merry and bright. (No matter what time of year.) Whether you are looking for a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving feast, or just a simple lunch, this recipe is sure to please.
Quinoa apple cranberry salad is a refreshing, healthy and flavorful dish that is perfect for any occasion.
This salad is packed with nutrient-rich ingredients like quinoa, cranberries, and pecans, and is tossed in a light and tangy dressing.
It's a great option for those looking for a satisfying yet light meal or a hearty side.
Plus, it's easy to make ahead of time and can be easily transported for potlucks or picnics.
So why wait? Give it a try today!
- Olive Oil: Use your best quality extra-virgin olive oil in this apple cranberry quinoa salad.
- Shallot: Shallots provide a pop of flavor without being overpowering. If you do not have shallots on hand, red onion can work.
- White balsamic vinegar: If you don’t have white balsamic vinegar, you can use regular balsamic, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Lemon juice: This will add freshness and acidity. I prefer fresh squeezed, but you could use bottled.
- Maple syrup: This gives the dressing a touch of sweetness. Feel free to substitute your favorite sweetener.
- Dijon mustard: This will add some creaminess, depth of flavor and a great tang.
- Sea salt: This will help to enhance the flavors.
- Fresh ground black pepper: This will add a slight bit of heat.
- Mixed Greens: I like to use a mix of arugula and spinach for this salad, but you can really use any type or mixture of lettuce that you like.
- Cooked quinoa: Quinoa gives this salad a filling and satisfying texture. Feel free to substitute your favorite grain.
- Dried cranberries: Dried cranberries add a sweetness and chewy texture to the salad.
- Granny Smith apple: The tartness of the Granny Smith apple pairs perfectly with the sweet cranberries and tangy dressing.
- Crumbled blue cheese (optional): This is a great addition if you're looking for a bit of extra richness, but it's not necessary. Goat cheese could also be used.
- Pecans: Pecans add a nice crunch and flavor to the salad. If you're not a fan of pecans, you could also use walnuts or almonds.
Tips and Tricks
- To make ahead of time, simply cook the quinoa and prepare the dressing. Store both in the refrigerator in separate containers. When you're ready to serve, simply toss everything together and enjoy!
- If you're looking for a bit more protein, you could add grilled chicken, tempeh, tofu, or shrimp to this salad.
- For a vegan quinoa salad with cranberries and pecans,, simply omit the blue cheese.
- For meal prep, you can toss the salad ahead of time, but you may want to wait to add the apple to prevent browning.
Depending on the ingredients, quinoa salad will last between three and five days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Some salads, like this one, have more perishable ingredients that will only last about three days, while others will hold a bit longer.
No, we do not recommend freezing quinoa salad as the texture of the quinoa and other ingredients will change upon thawing.
One cup of cooked quinoa is approximately ⅓ cup of dry quinoa.
Leftover cranberry quinoa salad can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
First, start by cooking the quinoa according to package instructions.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until smooth.
Next, add the greens, cranberries, apple, blue cheese (if using) and pecans to a large bowl.
Toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later. Enjoy!
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Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad
- In a blender combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Process until blended.
- Add the oil and process until emulsified.
- In a large bowl combine greens, quinoa, dried cranberries, apple, blue cheese and walnuts. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.