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


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

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.

  • 1-1/2 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 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced fennel
  • 3/4 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 2-1/2 cups water and 1/2 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, 1/2 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.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 330, Fat (kcal): 19, Fat Calories (g): 170, Saturated Fat (g): 4, Protein (g): 9, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7, Carbohydrates (mg): 34, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 7, Sodium (g): 350, Cholesterol (g): 15, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I served this to a large crowd at a festive gathering. The compliments didn't stop coming. It makes a delicious side dish any herbivore and carnivore will love.

Fabulous! I've served this many times and taken it to events to share and it has always received rave reviews.

This salad was just ok to me. I will not make again.

Outstanding dish! Makes a huge batch for a potluck. No need to double the recipe. Used a benriner mandolin to thinly slice the vegetables, used honeycrisp apples and a high quality/high viscosity balsamic vinegar for the reduction. Even "carnivores" found it delicious!

Just as others have mentioned, a guest turned to me and said, "I hate quinoa. I love this salad." It even made celery taste good, and I can't stand uncooked celery! Sherry vinegar is harder to find than ever, so I had to use Red Wine vinegar instead. Must track some down for next time. As almost everyone else has mentioned, this makes enough for a dozen people or more and could probably be extended for 20 with another bag of arugula. It's the kind of thing you probably you have all the ingredients for most of the time...just throw it together at the last minute and amaze your friends with your resourcefulness!

I was looking for salad recipe using quinoa that included something I had or hand or that would lend itself to substitutes, this worked out perfectly. I substituted a crisp Fuji persimmon for the apple, artichoke hearts for the fennel, no celery, had the remainder of the ingredients. I loved it and my husband declared it a winner.

I've made this several times and it's always a hit. I boost the flavour by bumping up the fruit and nuts and adding a bit of orange zest, or I sometimes use goat cheese instead of gouda. Delish!

Wow! I had never cooked, or even tried Quinoa before, and I was knocked out by this recipe! I served it as a side dish for a chicken dinner with two friends and they begged for the recipe. It does make a lot, I will have leftovers for days. There are probably endless flavor variations that you can make. This recipe is a keeper!

By far... hands down... my FAVORITE quinoa recipe of all time! I didn't read the recipe completely the first time and used fennel seeds instead of fennel, and I almost prefer it that way. It's a great meal on its own or combined with anything else Fine Cooking has on its recipe list. I swapped dried cherries for the cranberries and make it as often as I can when guests are over for a meal.

This is my second time making this recipe. This time I sliced everything about the same size and quite small. I had to use raisins instead of cranberries but it was a good substitution. I used an entire 5oz bag of Organic Herb Blend (that included arugula) and chopped it smaller too. For those who had never had quinoa before, they were amazed. I watched people pointing to my salad and telling their friends "you have to try this, it's wonderful!" There was none left. Thank you Fine Cooking - another great recipe.

I always follow a recipe just as written the first time I make it but, it is 100 degrees here today and i did not want to get in my car and go to the store. I had ,in season nectarines not apples and chipotle cheddar not gouda. Otherwise i followed it as written. It was excellent! Everyone loved it . The nectarines added a tang with the sweet and the chipotle cheddar added a bit of a bite. I will try it with apples in the fall but this is a great hot weather meal

This salad ist tasty as printed; a few modifications will greatly improve it. First, rather than cooking the quinoa in water, use a strong vegetable stock to intensify the flavour of the salad. Be sure to use a good quality sherry vinegar, and use it generously. Add chopped cilantro at the end. These steps will lift the salad out of the ordinary. The addition of roast chicken, beef, or even shrimp and substitution of toasted pecans for the wlanuts, as well as different hard cheeses, will add variations of flavour. The quantity in the recipe will easily feed 10.

I did not love this salad. It was good. I think it needed more dressing and I should have used a large red onion (I only had a medium)as it needed more flavor.

I make this for my work lunch and it's wonderful. I put some baby kale or arugula in a tupperware and pile the salad on top: perfect! It keeps for quite some time.

Love this! I've made it twice and it's a great lunch/picnic meal...I love that there are leftovers, so I do omit the arugula, and add some roasted chicken. Perfection!

Made this recipe for friends and we all enjoyed it. Had the leftovers for lunch today and even the arugula held up fine. Will definitely be making this again.

Excellent recipe, all the ingredients went really well together. I agree with other reviews, it makes a lot. Next time I will definitely half the recipe. Was a little time consuming chopping everything but it can all be done ahead of time if serving for a group. I used all ingredients but I don't think you would miss much skipping the celery, there is enough crunch from the walnuts and apples. I also felt it was a little bit heavy on the onions. Worth making!

Excellent recipe, all the ingredients went really well together. I agree with other reviews, it makes a lot. Next time I will definitely half the recipe. Was a little time consuming chopping everything but it can all be done ahead of time if serving for a group. I used all ingredients but I don't think you would miss much skipping the celery, there is enough crunch from the walnuts and apples. I also felt it was a little bit heavy on the onions. Worth making!

Love this recipe. The apple and the fennel go really well together and the sherry vinegrette just tops it all off.

This recipe tastes great. I made it for friends who were familiar with quinoa but had not had anything like this, they left as big fans. A similar reaction from my wife who is so-so on ancient grains but says I can make this recipe anytime. As is, the recipe makes a lot but I found this was a great snack or even a light lunch so I won't reduce even when making for a small group. It also keeps very well, I was worried about the apples going brown or arugula going limp but there is enough acid in the dressing that they stayed fresh all week. I was able to get red quinoa which made for a great looking dish but regular would do just fine.

Halved this recipe, made it without the fennel (didn't have it on hand), and ate it for days. Its delicious!

This was a really nice salad! and healthy too! Next time will definitely 1/2 the recipe. I will also only mix up what I plan on eating... the salad was a little soggy the next day. Either way... really good.

Fabulous recipe. I made it exactly as called for and everyone had seconds. It does make a large amount, so the next time I will probably cut it in half. Other than that, nothing needs to be changed.

I just made this recipe. It is very delicious. I did find it time consuming to make. There is lots of prep work involved. I used my mandolin to slice the onion, fennel and celery, which made them nice and evenly thin. I followed the other user's advice and very lightly sauteed the fennel and celery after adding the balsamic vinegar to the onions. This is healthy and delicious lunch or side dish.

I eliminated the cheese, and substitued baby spinach for the arugula. I also gently sauteed the celery and fennel with the onion. Added extra balsamic vinegar, and served it warm. It was delicious. Was also great chilled the next day.

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