Red Quinoa and Cranberry Salad

This recipe is a very loose adaptation of Wild Rice with Cranberries. I deleted the dried cranberries, and increased the walnuts and fresh cranberries.

In my grocery store, fresh cranberries are only available in the fall, so this is a true seasonal recipe -- a rarity in this day and age!
  • I toast the walnuts before I chop them because it's easier; toasting makes them crumble.
  • This salad is best made 4 to 24 hours in advance. Allow the salad to come to room temperature and garnish with the chopped green onion just before serving.
  • Cutting the cranberries in half is time consuming, but it makes a big difference in the texture of the finished salad.
  • The cranberries may be steeped in the sugar syrup up to 1 day ahead. The longer the berries sit in the syrup, the darker they get on the inside...and the syrup gets darker, too.
  • Don’t be put off by the amount of sugar used to make the syrup as only a portion of it goes into the salad. Even after hours of soaking they are not as sweet as the canned variety. In fact, you can make a simple cranberry relish by just doing the second step of this recipe. The remaining syrup can be saved to make drinks. New England Shirley Temple, anyone? Just mix seltzer and syrup.
  • If you need to change the amount of sugar water, just remember to keep the ratio of sugar to water at 1:1.
Adapted from Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad, Sunset Magazine, Nov 2003
Makes 4-8 servings
Prep time: about 1 hour plus 4 hours to chill.
1 cup red quinoa (half of a 12-ounce box)
¾ to 1 cup walnuts
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons walnut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon wine or rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt (optional)

3 green onions, rinsed and chopped (including green tops)
  • S
    Cranberries cut in half.
    ort the cranberries, discarding any stems and bruised or decayed fruit; cut each cranberry in half (see notes above).
  • Mix 1½ cup sugar and 1½ cup water in a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and mixture boils. Remove from heat; stir in the halved cranberries. Gently stir occasionally until insides of cranberries have turned red but are still firm. The original recipe said 8 to 12 minutes; I let them sit for an hour or longer. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl, reserving both the cranberries and the cranberry-sugar syrup.In a 4- to 
    Cranberries after soaking in syrup.
    6-quart pan, combine red quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer until the water is fully absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a baking pan and toast in a 325 oven until lightly golden under skins (about 4 minutes in my oven.) Chop the nuts.
  • In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar and 1-4 tablespoons of the cranberry syrup. Gently mix in the red quinoa and cranberry halves. Taste and add salt as needed. (The last few times I've made this recipe, I forgot the salt and it tasted just fine.) Add up to ¼ cup more syrup to sweeten and moisten salad as desired. Reserve remaining syrup for other uses such as New England Shirley Temples. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
  • Before serving, stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the green onions, along with the walnuts. Sprinkle the remaining green onions on top.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

What a lovely recipe. I have a cranberry nut bread recipe that calls for cutting the berries in half. Incredibly tedious. But, amazingly, it makes all the difference in the world so I do it. Coarse chopping just doesn't work.

Hey, I like your counter! I'm looking to see if you've had any Irish visitors. I'm thinking not. I'll have to get my friend Kathryn to put in an appearance.

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