Grain salads are quick, easy to make and very nutritious. They’re perfect to take to the beach whilst on vacation, or for lunch once back at work. Fine Cooking did a fabulous feature spread on creating grain salads with various combinations of ingredients in their June/July 2012 edition. This delicious salad is one of their suggested combinations.
Quinoa Salad with Pears and Dried Cherries
A very tasty grain salad. The dried cherries really make the flavours pop.
For the salad
- 2 c quinoa
- 3 pears, cored and cubed
- 3/4 c dried cherries
- 1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 c chopped fresh tarragon
- 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 c champagne vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pepper to taste
- Bring 7 c of water to a boil then add the quinoa. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. When the quinoa is tender. drain, holding the pot lid slightly askew to allow the water to escape into the sink. (Quinoa is a tiny grain so trying to strain it through even a mesh strainer is difficult). Place the quinoa in a large serving bowl, add the cherries to plump them up in the warm, steamy quinoa and place the mixture in the fridge, stirring occasionally so it cools evenly.
Prepare the vinaigrette
- In a medium sized bowl, dissolve the salt in the vinegar. Using an emulsion whisk, stir in the honey. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
Assemble the salad
- Once the quinoa and cherries are cool, add the pears, almonds and tarragon and toss gently. Gradually add the vinaigrette, mixing gently but thoroughly. Add the goat cheese and toss gently. Serve.
- This salad is even better the next day!
Using substitutions from my pantry, I made good use of this quinoa recipe. I like quinoa. Yummy meat-free filling brunch fare next to soft boiled eggs, virgin bloody Mary’s, and strong coffee. I had apples, dried cranberries, turmeric, and Laughing cow soft swiss cheese. Followed recipe otherwise except made a double batch. Will be 4 lunch side servings tomorrow with lemon-pepper haddock fish fillets, baked cherry tomatoes and iced tea. Looking forward to making this with pears and everything when I get some.
I think that’s the best part about grain salads – they take substitutions beautifully. They hold up really well in the fridge, too, so making doubles is a great use of time and energy. Your menu sounds yummy.