We may still be stuck in this record breaking California weather, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying all of the delicious flavors the season has to offer. To celebrate winter, I decided to make a quinoa salad inspired by one of my favorite flavor combinations: cranberry and orange. Although this delicious pairing is most commonly used during the holiday season, I don’t see why it can’t make an appearance now!
This salad is an exciting dish full of different textures and flavor fusions. The sweet oranges pair well with the tart cranberries, and together the fruit balances out the slight bitterness of the kale. The pistachios bring a hint of richness to the salad, while the mint and orange zest brighten the whole thing. If you can get a little bit of everything on your fork, you are in for the perfect bite!
This beautiful and colorful salad is not only a treat for your taste buds, but it’s also good for your body. Quinoa is very high in protein, meaning this vegetarian friendly dish will still keep you full and satisfied. Pistachios are also a good source of protein, and they naturally have fewer calories than other varieties of nuts. As a dark leafy green, kale is one of the best sources of Vitamin K, and is also high in Vitamins A and C. The oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well, and mint has great flavor without any added fat, sugar, or calories.
I hope you give this salad a try and savor some of winter’s delicious flavors. Enjoy!
Winter Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa (any color or combination of color)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 3-4 large handfuls kale, torn or cut into bite sized pieces
- 4-5 oranges, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2-3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
- Zest of one orange
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 handfuls each dried cranberries and pistachios
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring quinoa, 2 cups of water, and smashed garlic cloves to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender (about 15 minutes). Once the quinoa has cooked, let it cool slightly (about 5 minutes) before preparing the salad. You want to kale to wilt slightly, but keep its integrity. In the meantime, remove the garlic cloves and chop into small pieces. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Add all the ingredients and mix gently. Serve warm or cold.