Saturday, September 21, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Walnuts, Raisins, Apples & Feta (with Maple Balsamic Dressing)

I went a really long time without a home-cooked meal, but I finally had one on Thursday evening! Thursday's meal was good - we had some almond-encrusted salmon, quinoa salad, and toasted rosemary and sea salt bread. Home-cooked meals always taste delicious, but I think this meal tasted even better because I had gone for so long without one. There are many things preventing me from wanting or being able to cook much these days. First, I haven't had much time to cook between work and classes. Also, our refrigerator went out, so we are using a mini fridge until further notice, so there isn't much room for food. And, I went through a period of time where I did not want to be in the kitchen at all because smells bothered me too much - because I'm pregnant (due March 28)! I started feeling better the past few days and I felt inspired to cook again. I bought some already prepared salmon and bread, and I made the quinoa salad. I came across the quinoa salad recipe on Clean Eating and I thought it sounded pretty good. I used raisins instead of dried cranberries and walnuts instead of pecans, and I added apples and feta to the salad. It made a great side to the salmon! For the dressing, I used a pecan praline balsamic vinegar that I bought that Cleo's in Annapolis. It added such an amazing flavor, but I'm sure regular balsamic would be amazing too. If you want to make it vegan, leave out the feta! This quinoa salad is easy to make and it is tasty & healthy! Enjoy.

Recipe for Quinoa Salad with Walnuts, Raisins, Apples & Feta (with Maple Balsamic Dressing)

1 3/4 cups of quinoa, rinsed well
3 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar (I used pecan praline)
3 Tbsp. of pure maple syrup
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1/8 tsp. of sea salt
6 - 12 Tbsp. of crumbled feta cheese (optional)
2 Ginger Gold or Golden Delicious Apples, diced

Cook quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa is cooking, mix together the olive oil, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar and whisk until incorporated.

Once quinoa is finished cooking, transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool completely. Place the raisins and walnuts into a large bowl. Pour in the cooled quinoa and stir. Pour the maple balsamic dressing over the quinoa and stir until it is fully absorbed. Stir in the salt. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours.

Divide the quinoa amongst 6 dishes. Top each with the apples and feta. Sprinkle with some freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Serve as a side or eat it for a light lunch!

Recipe Adapted from: Clean Eating

Other quinoa recipe ideas: Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Corn & Quinoa Patties, Crustless Quiche with Quinoa, Kale & Peppers, CPK-Style Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Vegan Wraps with Quinoa & Chickpeas, Quinoa, Corn & Black Bean Wraps