Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad
This Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad is certainly a power salad if I’ve ever seen one. The health benefits of it’s ingredients are abundant. Quinoa, an ancient grain that first went mainstream when the Incas started eating it 4,000 years ago, provides the recipe with a ton of protein & fiber. Parsley is known to improve bloating and improve digestion. And kale, one of the latest & greatest “superfoods,” is high in iron, fiber and antioxidants.
I think it’s also safe to say that this recipe may be your new fall favorite, since it combines a hearty blend of pecans, goat cheese and dried cranberries. It makes the perfect side to a main course, but can certainly stand on it’s own. I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you love this uber-healthy recipe!
Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad
Serves 4-6 people.
- 2 1/2 cups Quinoa
- 2 cups Kale finely chopped
- 1 cup Parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup Pecans recommended: maple glazed
- 3 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 cup Goat cheese crumbled
Bring water for quinoa to a boil. Cook for as directed by instructions on the box of quinoa. Drain well and cool.
While the quinoa is being made, chop ingredients as necessary. Once prepared, drain the quinoa well and cool.
Mix together the chopped kale, cooled quinoa, cranberries, and parsley.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt & pepper.
Lastly add in the goat cheese & fold into the salad.
I have a secret to tell you.
I’m not a huge fan of kale. I find it bitter, and the texture can be too much for me sometimes. But when you throw it together with lemon juice, chop it up finely, and mix it together so it isn’t the main feature of a dish, it turns out I actually like it a lot. Who knew? Luckily, I’m always ready and willing to try new combinations and this recipe is one I love!
Quinoa comes in a variety of varieties and colors. I chose to use red quinoa this time around because I had it on hand, but you can certainly use others depending on what you can find and what you prefer!
You can tell when your quinoa is done when it pops open, revealing the germ of the kernel. If you want more great tips for perfectly cooking your quinoa, head over to this blog post by Cookie & Kate!
I prefer to put my ingredients in separate bowls as I prepare them, and put away the bags, bottles & boxes the ingredients come in. I mainly do this because, well, I’m a bit anal. But I will honestly tell you that it does make everything so much easier to combine & mix once it’s all ready. Plus, it makes for easier clean up! Something everyone can get behind.
The beautiful fall colors of this salad makes me swoon.
Okay… maybe not literally, but knowing my love for food, I wouldn’t rule it out.
I actually prefer to mix & serve this salad when the quinoa is still a bit warm.
It wilts the kale a teensy bit, and it slightly warms up the goat cheese to the point where it is wonderfully creamy. Feel free to do just that, or make it ahead of time and serve it all chilled.
The recipe saves pretty well in the fridge for a couple of days, too. So don’t be afraid to make enough for leftovers!
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