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Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda

With its dried fruit, walnuts, and apples, this sweet-and-savory dish is reminiscent of a Waldorf salad. It’s a great meat-free lunch or side dish for dinner.

Serves 6 as a main course; 10 as a side dish

1½ cups quinoa, preferably red

Sea salt

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed

1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

4 oz. arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

4 oz. aged Gouda, finely diced (about 1 cup)

3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced

1 large, crisp apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cut into 14-inch dice

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup finely diced fennel

¾ cup dried cranberries

3 Tbs. sherry vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water, rubbing it between your fingers for about 10 seconds. Drain and transfer it to a 3-quart pot. Add 2½ cups water and ½ tsp. sea salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender but still delicately crunchy, about 15 minutes.

Drain the quinoa and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.

While the quinoa cooks, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, walnuts, fennel, and cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil with the sherry vinegar, ½ tsp. sea 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.


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine February / March 2011

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