Fall Quinoa Salad is packed with all the flavors of the season I love. Crisp green apple, sweet-tart cranberries, crunchy pecans, and fresh parsley pair so well with the earthy gluten-free quinoa. And it’s just in time for your holiday table or fall meal prep.
What is Sprouted Quinoa?
Surprised to see quinoa on the blog? Well, now that I’m focusing on a bioindividual approach to nutrition, I’m expanding my gluten-free recipe offerings a bit. For a long time, I didn’t cook with quinoa. But after doing some experimentation and feeling no ill effects from it, quinoa has made its way back onto my menu from time to time.
Remember, do you, boo.
While I’ve welcomed quinoa back, there is something I’m doing differently: using sprouted quinoa. In essence, soaking and sprouting grains, grain-like seeds, seeds, and nuts causes the delicate plant babies inside to germinate. This kicks off a host of biochemical reactions that makes these foods a bit more digestible for us humans.
How to Cook Quinoa
Turns out, it’s really simple to cook quinoa for this Fall Quinoa Salad and any recipe, really. In fact, cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice. Essentially, you use a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa. I used water for this recipe since I was adding other ingredients, but you can also use broth to introduce more flavor.
Bring the liquid to a boil with the quinoa already in it, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and no longer opaque.
How to Make This Cold Quinoa Salad
Making this fall quinoa salad is so simple. You can serve cooked quinoa hot or cold. In this salad, I cooked the quinoa while I prepared the other ingredients. Once the quinoa was finished, I let it sit until it was cool. Then, I added the apple, parsley, cranberries, and pecans.
After that, I gave it a good toss and added the dressing. If you wanted to make this ahead of time for meal prep, you can leave the dressing on the side until you’re ready to eat. Serve this Fall Quinoa Salad alongside a protein like my Cranberry Orange Turkey Thighs for a complete meal.
Of course, it’s so easy to swap ingredients in this recipe. Don’t like pecans? Use walnuts or almonds instead. Not a fan of dried cranberries? Try dried cherries or blueberries…or simply leave them out.
And for a lower carb version, you could attempt with riced cauliflower. Full disclosure: I didn’t try it that way, so no promises. However, I’ve made grain-free tabbouleh that way in the past, and it was absolutely delicious.
Fall Quinoa Salad (Gluten-Free)
Fall Quinoa Salad is a scrumptious and simple side dish with the flavors of apple, cranberry, pecans and a fresh apple cider vinaigrette. It's gluten-free!
For the salad
- 1 cup quinoa sprouted
- 2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 green apple cored and chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
For the dressing
- 4 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch Salt & ground black pepper
Cook the quinoa in water according to the package directions and let it cool. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients and the dressing.
In a large bowl, combine the green apple, cranberries, parsley, and pecans. Toss to combine. When the quinoa is cool, add it to the bowl and mix.
In a small jar, combine the oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Cover and shake well to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad if you're using right away. If eating later, save the dressing off to the side and add before serving. Stir well to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
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