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Quinoa salad with dried fruit and pecans recipe

Quinoa salad with dried fruit and pecans recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Grain salad
  • Quinoa salad

This is a unique and tasty high-protein quinoa salad. It's well worth trying, I make it often since discovering quinoa.

83 people made this

IngredientsServes: 10

  • 250g quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 825ml water
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 90g chopped celery
  • 80g sultanas or raisins
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 80g chopped pecan nuts

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:20min ›Extra time:1hr resting › Ready in:1hr40min

  1. Bring the quinoa, salt and water to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Once done, scrape into a large bowl, and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Stir in the spring onions, celery, raisins, cayenne pepper, vegetable oil, vinegar, lemon juice and sesame oil. Allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavours to blend. Stir in the coriander and pecans before serving.


You can try using different types of dried fruit and nuts if desired.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(91)

Reviews in English (72)

by Joyousfreee

Wow, yummy! This is the best dish I have made yet with quinoa. I reduced the quinoa to 1 c. (in 2 c. chicken stock instead of water), used balsamic vinegar instead of white, 1 c. dried cranberries instead of raisins, tobasco instead of cayenne, and added about 1/2 tsp garlic powder. I also toasted the pecans before adding them. This was fabulous - definitely a keeper.-01 Jun 2008

by Marie C.

I love the prominent flavor the sesame oil gives to this salad. The second flavor that comes to the palate is lemon. With the crunch of the celery, nuts, and sweetness of the fruit it makes a wonderful blend of flavors and textures. I did use craisins that I chopped, and I toasted the pecans. I had the leftovers for lunch and added grilled chicken strips and fresh blueberries. Fabulous salad that is very versatile. I will make this often. Thank you for sharing!-08 Jul 2009

Quinoa Pilaf with Green Apples, Dried Cranberries and Pecans

In this recipe I’ve used classic Thanksgiving flavors like apples and cranberries with quinoa, which may not be that familiar as a Thanksgiving ingredient but I think this mix of these ingredients will become an instant classic.


  • 1 cup White Quinoa
  • 1-½ cup Red Quinoa
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • ¼ cups Olive Oil
  • ½ whole Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ teaspoon Herbes De Provence
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 2 whole Green Apples, Diced (Skin On)
  • ½ cups Dry White Wine
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 cup Toasted Or Maple Pecans
  • ¼ cups Fresh Parsley, Chopped


Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh colander and drain. Pour into a heavy-bottomed stockpot. Top with vegetable stock and stir. Turn on medium high heat when stock comes to a boil, cover with lid, turn down to medium low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until quinoa is al dente.

While quinoa is cooking place a saute pan over medium high and add olive oil, onions, celery and garlic stir. Add herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Saute until the onions and celery are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add apples and pour in wine, simmer 5 minutes to cook out alcohol.

Pour onion mixture over cooked quinoa and stir until combined. Add cranberries, pecans, and parsley, fold in. Check for seasoning.

Serve immediately by spooning into serving dish or can be reheated later.

To reheat, cover with lid or foil and bake in a 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Red Quinoa Salad

Is January the longest month or is it just me? Here I am again with another healthy post — a salad built upon a supergrain: Quinoa (KEEN-wha).

Quinoa isn’t technically a grain. It’s a seed. So perhaps we should call it “superseed,” but that just sounds silly.

Taken from a page in my first cookbook,

Quinoa is a curious bugger. Each raw seed is just barely bigger than a pin-head.

If you, say, drop the bag on the floor, you’ll spend the next eternity trying to pick them all up.

When cooked, it sprouts a little yellow tail — and quadruples in size. A cup of raw quinoa makes just shy of four cups cooked.

It’s simultaneously soft and crunchy. Nutty and a little earthy. And a wide-open foodstuff just begging for creativity.

And a toothpick. They like to stick in your teeth.

This ancient, South American staple has received a lot of press lately. (It’s because it’s January, right? We’re all scrambling to distance ourselves from decadent December.)

Or maybe this nutrient powerhouse is getting attention because it only takes 15 minutes to cook.

Interested in the protein-packed, vitamin-and-mineral-rich details? Slide over here. Want to read more about the history of quinoa? Wiki it here.

Just come back for a really tasty salad (and a preview of another way to use quinoa.)

Even though it only takes 15 minutes to cook, I should share a couple things. First, it needs a good rinse. It’s covered in a bitter resin that helps protected it from birds while growing. Most of the bitter compound is removed during processing for packaging, but a good rinse removes any last traces.

Since the seeds are so tiny, I use a chinois set over a bowl and give it four or five good rinses, changing the water in between. (A chinois is a very fine mesh strainer. A few layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter will work if your strainer is less fine.)

The shape of your pan matters, too. It’s best to use a pan that is wider than it is tall, otherwise the short 15 minute cooking time isn’t long enough to absorb all the water.

Cooking quinoa longer than 15 minutes makes it mushy. Some recipes call for cooking the quinoa in water for 1o minutes, then draining the water off and steaming it.

That’s too much trouble for me, especially since using a wide pan seems to do the trick.

After 15 minutes of cooking, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then lift the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. (If you lean in close, you’ll get a nice steam facial, too. I always like double-duty tasks.)

This salad is best served room temperature, so toss the quinoa until it cools, or spread it out on a baking sheet to cool (if you don’t mind washing another pan). That will help dry it out, too.

I’ve chosen Cara Cara oranges because I like the pretty salmon color, and they’re in season now. I’m using both dried cranberries and dried, tart cherries.

You can substitute other dried fruits: apricot, dates, pineapple, or even raisins (golden, please…the others look like bugs to me. Of course, what am I worried about? This “grain” has a tail!)

Like most composed salads, this tastes better after it sits for an hour, giving the flavors a chance to get acquainted.

Remember that 1 cup of quinoa turns into 4 cups cooked. I use 3 cups for this salad, saving the last cup for another recipe that I’ll share later this week. And it won’t be quite as healthy as this one.

It’s almost February, after all.

Red Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Cranberries and Pecans

1 cup red quinoa (or white)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 medium oranges
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
3 scallions, sliced thinly on bias
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

3 tablespoons of orange juice*
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Rinse the quinoa in several changes of water. Drain.

2. Place the quinoa in a wide saucepan and pour in 2 cups of water. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, or to cool quickly, spread the quinoa on a baking sheet. (If quinoa seems too wet, line baking sheet with paper towels before spreading out to cool.)

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients.

4. Zest one of the oranges and set aside (for the vinaigrette). Peel the oranges and cut into segments (supreme). Save the orange pulp. Cut each segment in half and set aside.

5. Squeeze the orange pulps into a small saucepan. Place the dried fruit in the pan with the orange pulp juice and stir. Bring the juice just to a boil and then turn off the heat. Stir the fruit occasionally while the berries steep.

6. Whisk 3 tablespoons of orange juice with the reserved zest, and the vinegar. Whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Top with the reserved orange segments, steeped berries, scallions and pecans. Toss until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

*The juice from the segmented oranges is enough to steep the dried fruit, but not enough to make the vinaigrette, so you’ll need an additional 3 tablespoons of OJ for the vinaigrette.

How to make the flavor of quinoa taste less bitter

While I love the texture and look of tri-color quinoa, and of course the nutritional punch that it packs, there is a downside: it can tend to be a little bitter. This is easily remedied by making sure that you flavor it substantially.

For this recipe, the quinoa is cooked in salted water. Similarly to pasta, the quinoa will absorb the salty flavor of the water while it cooks, helping to season it. Any time you cook quinoa, use salt. It makes all the difference in the world.

Oh- and give your quinoa a rinse under water before cooking. This helps with the flavor as well.

In addition to cooking it in salted water, the sweetness of the mango pairs so well with the flavor of the quinoa. I think adding something sweet to any quinoa dish- bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc., helps balance the natural bitter flavor of the grain.

And there are SO many flavors happening in this dish- the sweet mango and tomatoes, the spicy jalapeño, the savory onion, and the fresh and bright cilantro and lime- you certainly won&rsquot notice any bitterness from the quinoa. Promise! This mango quinoa salad is definitely the recipe to make if you think you don&rsquot like quinoa.

Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

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Quinoa is one of my new favorite ingredients to work with because it is high in protein, gluten-free (helps with my carb intake) and very filling, and full of fiber. I love to make a large batch and keep it in the refrigerator to snack on throughout the week. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.

*Scroll down to use print recipe feature and add to your Recipe Box.

The quinoa has a very mild taste, so the ingredients you mix it with can drastically change it’s flavor, making it your own. I can find a large bag of organic quinoa at my local Costco for under $9 and it lasts me quite a while.

In order to give this cold quinoa salad a nice depth of flavor (that just means to make it taste really good), I think the key is cooking the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water. If you do not have chicken broth on hand, or you are looking to reduce costs, you can use the water instead. You will just need to add a little extra salt at the end to flavor the quinoa.

I have included sesame seed oil as an ingredient here, but it can be a little pricey. For me it is a kitchen staple I invest in, because a little goes a long way and adds a punch of flavor to any dish. All you needs is about a tablespoon in most dishes to add a nutty finish. If you don’t have this and want to keep the dish cost down, just omit it. It will still taste great.

Of all the ingredients in this dish, I think the dried fruit really makes it pop. Each time you take a bite, the sweet and chewy apricots and craisins make the quinoa really pop with flavor. The nuts are a close second, just be sure not to burn the nuts if you toast them before adding to your salad.

Formula Meals: Quinoa Salad

I’m being very efficient today by combining my monthly Recipe Redux post with a Formula Meals post! This month’s Redux theme is spring cleaning. We were challenged to go through our pantry, cupboards, freezer, or fridge and choose an ingredient, spice, or condiment that’s been hanging out for a while. Then share a healthy recipe made using this new-found pantry prize. I decided to use this theme as a way to clean out my fridge. And what better way to clean out your fridge then to make a quinoa salad?

I perfected the quinoa salad last summer when I was doing some catering for a client. I made her a different quinoa salad each week and got pretty good at it. I discovered quickly that there was a formula for creating the most delicious quinoa salad. You don’t need a recipe, but the best iterations were those that contained a few specific ingredients.

I was never a real quinoa fan before making these salads for my client. Now I know that if I have some quinoa already made in the fridge, a delicious meal is just 10 minutes away!

What’s the Formula?

1 part quinoa: I like to mix the red and white quinoa together (or buy the tricolor). To make, use one part quinoa and two parts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 18 minutes or until the water is absorbed. I like to add lemon zest to the pot while cooking and then add a squeeze of lemon after cooking.

2 parts vegetables: here’s where you can get as creative as you want. Whatever you go with, make sure you chop into bite-sized pieces. Some ideas are: steamed asparagus, chopped cucumbers, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped zucchini, chopped broccoli (steamed or raw), fresh/frozen corn or peas, sliced radishes, chopped bell peppers, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower, etc.

1 part greens: the trick for adding the greens is to make sure you chop them into bite sized pieces! I love using softer greens like baby kale, spring mix, baby spinach, arugula, watercress, pea shoots, etc.

1 part fresh herbs: fresh herbs add so much flavor, don’t skip this part! Experiment with chopped basil, mint, parsley, tarragon, dill or cilantro.

1 part fruit: you can use fresh or dried fruit here. I love sliced apples, grapes, and strawberries. Dried cherries, cranberries, currants and golden raisins are fun, too!

1 part nut: Every salad needs some crunch — sliced almonds are my go-to but I also love chopped walnuts, pecans, pistachios, and hazelnuts!

Always the same: a simple dressing of 2 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar (of your choice), salt and pepper, juice from half a lemon, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, a few drops liquid stevia or 1 tsp honey.

Other optional add-ins: black beans, chick peas or lentils are also a nice touch to any quinoa salad.

Prepare quinoa and let cool while you chop the vegetables. If using already prepared quinoa, place 1-2 cups into a large bowl. Add your chopped vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruit to the bowl. In a small Mason jar, add the dressing ingredients and shake well. Pour dressing over salad and toss well to combine. Top with nuts and serve.

SRC: Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

It’s been a couple of months since my last Secret Recipe Club post. I was busy having a baby though, so I think that is a pretty good excuse! My little man turned two months old over the weekend, so I finally have a little bit of a routine down, which means I’m back to blogging.

My SRC blog assignment this month is K&K Test Kitchen. It’s a mother/daughter collaboration between mom Kim and daughter Kelsey. How cute is that?! Such a nice thing for them to share, being that they’re living quite a distance apart these days.

I am currently in a clean-out-my-pantry phase, and happened to have a small amount of quinoa in there. I hate throwing things away, so I will scour the Internet and my cookbooks in search of ways to use everything up. This was the perfect recipe, as I happen to have everything on hand! This is a nice salad for these upcoming winter months when there isn’t a lot of fresh produce in season, as it uses dried fruit. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts, adapted from K&K Test Kitchen

🛒 Ingredients for Fall Quinoa Salad

You'll find a complete list of ingredients is in the recipe card below.

  • quinoa: cooked and cooled.
  • baby spinach: or massaged kale
  • dried cranberries: for natural sweetness
  • dried apricots or raisins (optional)
  • pear any variety of firm pear, like Bosc, Anjou, Seckel, or even the tiny Forelle pears will be delicious. You could also use an Asian pear, also known as Apple Pear.
  • green onion: adds a nice contrast to the sweet fruit
  • flaked almonds: toasted to bring out their flavour. Almonds add extra crunch to this salad.
  • pumpkin spice pecans:these add lots of fall flavour to this salad
  • apple cider vinaigrette: brings fall flavours to this healthy salad!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit and Nuts

This is an unusual and tasty high-protein grain salad. Quinoa is a grain that has almost no flavor, but the spices add zest. It’s well worth trying, I make it often since discovering quinoa at my health food store.

Original recipe makes 5 cups


1 1/2 cups quinoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups water
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup raisins
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup chopped pecans


  1. Bring the quinoa, salt, and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Once done, scrape into a large bowl, and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Stir in the green onions, celery, raisins, cayenne pepper, vegetable oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Stir in the cilantro and pecans before serving.


Calories: 221 kcal
Carbohydrates: 26.3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fat: 11.6 g
Fiber: 3.6 g
Protein: 5.1 g
Sodium: 72 mg

Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Pecans and Cranberries

We simply loved this Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Pecans and Cranberries and I’m happy to add it to my quinoa repertoire that list might be small but with two salads I really love it’s mighty!

Is the quinoa fad over yet? I have a tendency to try something once it’s lost it’s place as the foodie ‘darling.’ I can never quite get on-board with some of the over the top LOVE I see for some newly discovered foods so I watch and wait and I dig in when the mood strikes me, not when the masses say I have to.

Kale chips also come to mind but I’ve yet to go that route I just prefer Lay’s and I know you get that, right? I did try some Kale Pesto I sampled at a food event and yes, it was good enough to include on this blog…but then come on olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts are good with almost anything!

My first foray into quinoa territory was a couple of years ago with this Tandoori chicken dish, before quinoa had become heralded as the grain of all grains. While I enjoyed that dish it wasn’t until I made this Red Quinoa Chipotle Lime Salad with Corn and Avocado (next on ‘photos need to be redone’ list!) a couple of years ago that I first felt true quinoa love.

I much preferred the flavor combination of the nutty quinoa better when mixed with a flavorful dressing and am surprised it’s taken me this long to delve in again but delve I have.

I was first inspired to make this dish when I heard it mentioned on a telecast of Ina Garten’s show on the Food Network. I don’t even get that channel anymore when I decided to cut back on cable it was easy to lose because there were too many contests and not enough chefs that inspired me so I said goodbye…and son of a gun I have survived!

Even though that was several years ago, I remember it well. Her recipe was for a wild rice salad but my pantry only offered up quinoa and I loved the end result.

I did make a few other changes too. Don’t hate me but the Barefoot Contessa could have used a bit more of everything 2 cups of wild rice or quinoa is a lot when finished and I thought her quantities of the other ingredients simply not satisfying enough.

I don’t want to search for a grape or a berry or a nut, I want some of them in every bite…are you with me? The dressing also benefited substantially with the addition of some honey the tartness of vinegar and citrus was almost crying for it. I was delighted that this salad measured up to that salad last year so much so that it wasn’t what I had on the side for dinner, it was dinner!

When I made this again for company a couple of weeks ago, I realized as I do often the photos were just not representative of how beautiful this salad is. It’s earthy and warm but still with some vibrant colors. I’ve fixed that with new photos and even better, I’ve enjoyed it again and thought many of my readers would too.

I’ve found myself navigating more and more to enjoying fruits and nuts in my salads maybe it’s because I only enjoy homegrown tomatoes in salads in the summer, the rest of the year I can find a variety of fruits for almost any season.

While I think this salad is great all season long, I can envision serving it for a holiday meal too the orange, cranberry and pecan components would fit right in.

Sometimes rice and grains and other brown foods can create a challenge to photograph well, but with the pretty colors in this salad it made all the difference and the colors pop on the plate. It doesn’t hurt that it is so good. I mean really, REALLY good!


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