This easy Cranberry Quinoa Salad turns leftovers of the popular side dish into a completely new meal!
Quinoa is ever growing in popularity in many kitchens and restaurants. Although it’s often served plain, as a side dish, it’s a versatile ingredient that can add a lot of nutrition to any recipe. I love to jazz it up with cranberries and other fruit and serve it both hot or warm. In this recipe, the cranberries give it a little sweetness, making it a perfect side dish with any meat -I love serving it next to pork.
My mom is a huge fan of quinoa and reminds me of its benefits every time she makes it. Some benefits of quinoa, the seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and acceptable quantities of calcium, this makes it is a good source of protein (compared to other grains), dietary fiber, folate, and the dietary minerals, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Many minerals we are missing from our daily diets.
Also, a bonus for me, quinoa is naturally gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Which is great in my house, since I am always looking for meals, sides and snacks to cook that are naturally gluten-free without having to substitute.
It should come to no surprise that I prefer not to eat quinoa plain. Some of my favorite ways to eat quinoa are cold, topping a salad, or used with other ingredients as a cold salad. Using quinoa to make Tabouleh, for example, is my favorite way of using this nutritious ingredient.
On most days, however, I like to throw it in a bowl with some salad and call it a meal. And, since many of you have asked me for gluten-free filling lunch options, I thought today was a great day to share this delicious recipe.
What are some of your favorite ways of eating quinoa?
Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Fresh, delicious, and packed with nutrition this quinoa salad is one you’ll want to have often! Save time by mixing all the salad ingredients except the spinach ahead of time, and combine with the spinach right before serving.
- 4 cups finely chopped spinach
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine spinach, quinoa, cranberries, and chopped pecans.
- In a small bowl, whisk orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.
- Drizzle as much dressing into salad bowl as desired, toss to combine.
- Optional: add in chopped roasted chicken or turkey.