Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots, Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette

This is a repost due to many requests for this recipe on Facebook and my personal emails. I modified this recipe so many times and this is the most favorite so far. I originally posted this on March 6, 2010 so it is really nice to get requests for this recipe often.  I am fascinated with grain and seed salads. It is hard to believe that these little tiny kernels of seeds pack such a powerful healthy punch. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein. I made a salad as part of a birthday lunch for a friend and it was a huge hit. The original salad recipe came from a friend of mine’s mothers recipes. Where she got it I am not sure. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots, Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette
Created recipe on 03/06/2010, revamped often, most favorite 04/25/14

Quinoa Salad Picture

To cook the quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (this is important because of the coating on the seeds. It tastes bitter when not rinsed well.
2 cups water
Salt lightly (optional)

Bring the water to a boil in a 3 quart pan. Add the salt and quinoa. Return to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes until the whole seed then cracks open and pops. This will make about 2 cups of cooked Quinoa. Transfer the cooked quinoa in a large bowl.

Ingredients
1/3 cup of slivered almonds
1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup dried apricots diced into small pieces
1/3 cup cran-raisins
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1 green onion thinly chopped
1/2 English cucumber, minced
2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
2 tablespoons fresh minced mint
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, organic canola oil, or grape seed oil

Toast the slivered almonds on a stone or cookie tray in 350 degree oven for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until the almonds are golden brown. It may take more time depending on your stove.

Dice the dried apricots into small mini size pieces and toss with the cran-raisins in the large bowl with the cooked quinoa. Add the minced parsley, chives, green onion, English cucumber and fresh mint to the mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, orange juice. Whisk in the oil until well blended. Before serving, pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss well with fork. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds over the grain salad and serve.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Watermelon Feta Spinach Salad

Summer is here. I’ve been taking advantage of the summer flavors of fruits and vegetables. Nothing compares like going to the store or farmer’s markets and buying fresh veggies and making simple salads. Watermelon is an excellent complement to a green salad. The flavors of the saltiness of Feta cheese and the sweetness of watermelon really make this salad irresistible. I love it and I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

Watermelon Feta Spinach Salad
Created on 06/05/13

Click on picture to see a larger image
This salad makes enough servings for 2 people. For more servings just double the recipe to the size you need.

Salad:
4 large handfuls organic baby spinach washed and dried
1 cup of cubed seedless watermelon
¾ cup Feta cheese

Dressing:
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup olive oil

Whisk all dressing ingredients well. You can adjust the flavors of the dressing to suit to your taste. I did not add any sugar to the dressing because the balsamic vinegar was already sweet to me. If it is not sweet to you, add ½ teaspoon of brown sugar – whisk well and adjust accordingly.

Put all salad ingredients in a bowl, drizzle dressing on top, toss well and serve.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad

Today was a very busy day for me. I had a presentation I needed to prepare for and I did not have time to really cook anything. I put a couple nice sized potatoes in the oven to make baked potatoes and loaded them up with broccoli and Parmesan cheese. I had some baby spinach and decided to make a simple salad. I enjoy these types of salads. The salad had great flavor, dressed nicely with a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was an excellent meal choice for such a busy day. Perfect dinner for 2 people. Enjoy!

Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad
Created on 11/13/2012

Click on image to see a larger photo
Salad:
1 (10 oz) bag of organic baby spinach, washed and spun dry with salad spinner
½ cup of cran-raisins
½ cup of toasted walnuts
¼ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
2 teaspoons of raw honey
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 garlic clove minced well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a stoneware or cookie tray, spread walnuts and pumpkin seeds evenly and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the nuts/seeds from the oven and let cool. In a glass bowl, mix the raw honey, vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic with a wire whisk. Season the vinaigrette dressing lightly with salt and pepper. Add the washed spinach, cran-raisins, and walnuts/pumpkin seeds and toss well.

 

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Zucchini Corn Tomato Salad

I am always looking for different kinds of salads to make especially in the summer when Farmer Markets and vegetables are in abundance. The varieties of vegetables are endless. My all time favorite vegetables I think are corn, tomatoes and zucchini. The combinations are just so appealing to me. I made this salad when I went on a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago and the salad was easy to travel with – really did not require refrigeration. Great for picnics, hot days, cool days, any kind of day. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Tomato, White Corn Salad
Created 7/25/12 and on 8/9/12 and again and again

Click on image to enlarge photo
2 white corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob with a knife
3 medium zucchini, diced 
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey or Agave
2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh basil minced, about 10 basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

This salad can be assembled either hot or cold. I have done this both ways. I sautéed the corn and zucchini for a few minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil just to give the vegetables a nice bite of flavor. The sugars come out in the corn and the zucchini seems to have more flavor. 

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, tomatoes and mix well. In another small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients and the balance of the olive oil – 1 tablespoon whisk well. Mix the liquid with vegetables, season with salt and pepper and add the minced basil. Toss gently and serve. 

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Sunflower Seed Avocado Tomato Salad

I do not know about you, but when I hear the word salad, I think greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all the other fresh vegetables that go in a bowl, tossed and drenched in dressing. Today is an overcast, icky day in Columbus Ohio so…… I thought what a better way to cheer up myself on this blah day and make a salad that has bright colors in it. If Mother Nature will not bring me sun today, at least I can create it in my kitchen. I did not have any green lettuce or spinach but I made this salad instead and I am just excited – a different kind of salad. I toasted sunflower seeds and sweet organic corn off the cob, topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, avocados, lightly sautéed zucchini salad with a tad of olive oil. I’m a happy person right now. I am looking forward to trying this again over the summer with fresh farmer market vegetables. Enjoy!

Sunflower Seed Avocado Tomato Salad
Created on 2/21/12

Click on image to see a larger picture

 

13 organic cherry tomatoes sliced in half and then quartered
1 small organic zucchini, cubed
1 cup of organic yellow corn, sliced off the cob (frozen will work too)
¼ cup of raw organic sunflower seeds
1 avocado, seed removed and cubed
1 teaspoon of basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil, or other oil you prefer
Salt / Pepper for seasoning

In a small sauté pan, heat up over medium heat 1 tablespoon of oil of your choice and add the corn and sunflower seeds, season the corn and seeds with salt and pepper along with the basil. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes until the corn and sunflower seeds are brown like – somewhat like the color of toast. Remove from the heat and put in a glass bowl. Cool.

In the same sauté pan, which should already have a coating of oil from the corn and sunflower seeds, if not add about ½ tablespoon more of olive oil to the pan. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper, lightly sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes. The zucchini should have a good solid crunch but the raw taste should not be there. Add the zucchini to the bowl of corn and sunflower seeds. Cool.

Click on image to see larger picture

Cut up the tomatoes, put in a small glass bowl and season with salt and pepper with a drizzle of oil. Set aside. The salt will help the tomatoes create some juice.

Click on picture to see a larger image

After the sautéed vegetables are semi-cool, add the tomatoes with the juice and cubed avocado to the bowl and toss lightly. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Serve with whole grain crusty bread.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Pre-New Year’s Day Green Salad

Sometimes there are traditions that we become die-hard fans and follow so faithfully year after year. Mine is black-eyed peas (for luck) and rice, a green salad or “green” something for money, and of course the latest we have adopted is no laundry on New Year’s Day because it is bad luck. My year 2011 was an interesting and unexpected year with a huge loss and some life and career changes. I said I would not mention any resolutions for 2012 but I have that hopeful seed of anticipation. Hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. Happy New Year!

Pam’s Pre-New Year’s Green Salad
Created on 12/31/11

Click on image to see an enlarged photo


Salad Ingredients
Romaine lettuce enough for 1 or 2 servings
1 granny smith apple, cleaned, cored, and sliced thin
1 Avocado, seeded, and cubed
6 oz of smoked turkey or ham (you can omit this if vegan or vegetarian), chop into bite size pieces
2 celery stalks chopped
1 cucumber halved and diced (remove the seeds with a spoon)
½ cup of fresh parsley minced fine (adjust the herb to the way you like it)
¼ cup of green onions minced fine

Vinaigrette
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of pepper
1 tsp of Stevia or honey
½ juice from fresh lemon
¼ cup of canola oil or a light oil

Prep all the ingredients for the salad, wash the lettuce and chop into bite size pieces. Slice granny smith apple into matchstick pieces and put into a bowl with cold water to prevent browning. Cut avocado in half and remove the seed. Then slice and cube the avocado. Cut cucumber in half and then remove the seeds with a spoon, then dice. Mince fresh parsley and green onion using white and green parts of the onion. Chop into bite size pieces 2 stalks of celery. Put all the ingredients in a glass bowl and add the apples after draining and pat dry.

Mix with a wire whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small glass bowl well until foamy. Add the vinaigrette to the prepped salad ingredients and toss well. Serve with whole grain bread.

Click on image to see enlarged photo

Another time when I made this salad, I added toasted coarsely chopped Almonds. This gave the salad a different texture and flavor.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

Roasted Potato Salad

I was invited to a barbeque potluck recently and wanted to bring something that I would not have to worry about spoiling when sitting out in the warm weather for a long time. I visited the local farmer’s market in Worthington, OH and took advantage of their wonderful spring vegetable picks for my recipe. Fresh herbs, asparagus, baby red potatoes, spring green onions, and garlic were all a part of my creation for this dish. The results were amazing and there was just a little tiny serving left after the night was through. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Salad created 06/11/11

5 lbs baby red potatoes, scrubbed well, cut into bite size cubes

2 bunches of spring green onions, chopped white and green parts both

1 lb of asparagus, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces

4 corn on the cobs, remove corn from cob with sharp knife

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cleaned and halved

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley

8 cloves of garlic peeled and minced

Olive Oil

Salt / Pepper

In a large bowl, combine green onions and potatoes with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, coat well and spread single layer on a cookie sheet or stone. Put in oven @ 425 degrees for about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft and golden color.

Put cut asparagus in a bowl and coat with approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Put asparagus single layer on a cookie sheet or stone and place in oven for about 15 min or less.

Put the cut corn in a sauté pan with about ½ tablespoon of olive oil, halved tomatoes and minced garlic, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes or until tomatoes shrivel a little. Remove from heat and put in a large serving bowl and top with fresh chopped basil and parsley.

Put roasted red potatoes and asparagus in bowl and toss well.

It is possible you may have to add another tablespoon of olive oil (optional).

Season dish with salt and pepper as needed.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

%d bloggers like this: