Killer Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the most nutritious grain there is. Something so good for you shouldn’t taste so good, but it does. Serve this nutty-textured salad alone or with grilled chicken or pork. This is an excellent buffet salad that will hold for about an hour.

Serves 6.


Finely grated zest and

juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp     olive or vegetable oil     45 mL

1⁄2 tsp     ground coriander     2 mL

1⁄2 tsp     ground cumin     2 mL

1⁄2 tsp     paprika     2 mL

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 cup     red or white quinoa, rinsed well      250 mL

(see tip, opposite)

1⁄2 tsp     salt     2 mL

2 cups     cold water     500 mL

1 cup     dried cranberries     250 mL

1⁄4 cup     finely diced dried apricots     60 mL

Warm water

2     ripe avocados (see tip, page 129)     2

2     green onions, sliced diagonally     2

1⁄4 cup     toasted slivered or      60 mL

sliced almonds (see tip, page 127)

Dressing: In a bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, coriander, cumin and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salad: In a saucepan, combine quinoa, salt and cold water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork, spread on a large baking sheet and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, place cranberries and apricots in a small bowl. Cover with warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes or until plump. Drain and set aside.

Peel avocados and cut into bite-sized chunks. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the dressing to prevent discoloration. Place cooled quinoa in a large salad bowl. Add cranberry mixture, avocados, green onions and almonds. Add the remaining dressing and toss to combine.

Tip: First cultivated by the Incas, quinoa is an ancient grain that is growing in popularity. Available in red and white varieties, it has a mild, nutty flavor and expands four to five times when cooked. It’s important to rinse it thoroughly under cold running water before cooking to remove the slightly bitter coating on the grains. Refrigerate raw quinoa to prevent it from becoming rancid.

Make Ahead: The dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. The quinoa can be cooked up to 1 day in advance; after cooling, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

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