Friday, April 1, 2011

ffwd - quinoa, fruit and nut salad

I've never eaten quinoa (keen-wa) before. One of my friends totally loves it, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. So I had that in mind when I turned to make this salad. I'm afraid that it sounded a little more in the beggars linguine camp, with the combination of dried fruits, nuts and some kind of starch (and yes, I know it's a seed, not a starch - but it kind of seems like one), so I was less than sure about it. I made this with the sincere intention of eating it for lunch. I even made another salad to go along side of it too. I did. My week go away from me...

the ingredients ready to for the putting together
luckily I had some fresh mint and basil (a favorite combination)
and some apricots a combo of raisins, cranberries, and blueberries
and some pine nuts, walnuts and toasted sunflower seeds

cooking quinoa is a lot like cooking rice

while the recipe didn't say to, I thought that any nuts included ought to be toasted, so
they would retain their crunch in the salad

all of the other ingredients prepped

I have to admit, this does look cute with the iconic rings
that give quinoa its distinctive look
ready for a quick stir

the finished salad
Somehow, this week did get away from me - on days that I had planned to go out, I stayed in. On days I planned to stay in... you get the idea. I've probably had a spoon or two of this each day over the last several. Just tried it again to remind myself.

I think my general idea of making this as part of a meal of different salads had merit. I found that I liked it more as the days went by (against Dorie's advice). Maybe I had too many nuts. Maybe the walnut oil was overpowering. Maybe I didn't have enough other flavors in the dressing to compensate (I think some garlic, onion, or chile - or a combination - would be good). But I did kind of like that fruity-nutty combination. And it seems a shame to waste all of those perfectly delightful goodies. The mint particularly was nice with this.

I'm sure that some of my fellow Doristas will have some great ideas (I know it's true - I cheated and peeked a bit earlier) of how to serve this. So maybe the next time a summer salad dinner, or a group of salads to go with barbeque are required this will come back out to play and I can tinker with it a bit.

Oh, and one other note: I made a half-recipe. It was easily enough for 4 (or more if combined with other things). This recipe makes a lot!


  1. This was my first time with quinoa and am excited to try it with mint next time! Great post!

  2. Nice post! I liked this salad more than I thought I might. And I think the fruit, seed, and nut mixture would go great with couscous, too.

  3. I'm excited to do this with apricots once I saw all the apricots this week in it. Yum!

  4. I agree with you: quinoa is cute and I love the texture, those little seeds kind of pop in your mouth :)

  5. Great idea to toast the nuts! And, it's nice & colorful, too. I'll have to try the right recipe next time! LOL!

  6. I didn't have walnut oil on hand and was curious on how it affected the finished salad. I also made half the salad but made the whole amount of dressing. Half went in, half was passed at the table!

  7. Wow, I am starting to think you and have some cosmic sort of connection since so many of our ideas and observations are identical. Maybe it's the shared name?!

  8. What wonderful photos. I found the quinoa very interesting, as I
    had never cooked it before. Tricia and I had each used a different
    quinoa, and I thought the results were interesting. I did not
    care for either, but her family did enjoy it. That's the fun of
    FFwD. Great job.

  9. great post. looks like you found quinoa at TJ's ... i'll have to try there next time.

  10. The apricots would be a nice touch if they could last that long in my house! I thought this salad was way better on Day 2, 3, etc.

  11. Good thinking of halving the recipe! I did a whole recipe and had WAY too much!!

  12. I love the cute little curl on the cooked quinoa. I toasted my nuts too. I think they added more flavor than raw. I made too much (double to make a version both with and without nuts), but I'm happy to find out it does keep well.

  13. I love the shot that highlights the quinoa's rings. Really nice! I agree that this needed a tad more flavor and that it was better day 2, 3 and 4!