This is not your ordinary quinoa salad. This Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette is special. In fact, I’m confident it will be the best quinoa salad you will ever eat. The ingredients say it all – quinoa, baby kale, green apple, fig, cranberries, pecans, and walnuts tossed in an orange vinaigrette. It’s delicious, refreshing, and a great addition to your summer salads.
Quinoa was referred to as ‘the mother of all grains’ by the Incas. My Mom would speak proudly of how quinoa was the food of the Incas clenching her fist as she spoke. She shared how her mom -Mama Maria, and aunt -Tía Rosa, would create delicious dishes using the superfood grain.
Quinoa has been all the rage the past few years. Recently, my girlfriend, Kim and I went out for lunch and ordered an interesting quinoa salad along with a slew of other dishes. We were the subject of scrutiny by the other patrons as our food arrived. There were so many plates the waitress had to slide another table against ours. Our mouths dropped and although I ordered as much as Kim, I pushed them towards her and said,
“My gosh, Kim! Why did you order so much?!” She just sat there stunned. I snapped a picture of all the food in front of her as evidence.
Then we both cracked up. We felt we had to explain ourselves to the other patrons who only ordered salads and split a slice of pizza. I called them wimps.
I wanted to recreate that quinoa salad at home. It was a version I have never tried before.
My first attempt was a hit. There’s a little chopping involved, but this salad is quick and simple to make.
Cook the quinoa in water and orange juice and add a little salt. After it absorbs the liquid, let it cool in a large bowl and start prepping the remaining ingredients.
Make the orange vinaigrette by whisking orange juice, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar (Braggs, of course), minced garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Roughly chop the kale, pecans, walnuts, figs, dice the green apple, and measure out the cranberries. Add them all to the quinoa and combine well.
Give this Quinoa Salad a try. I’m sure it would have been Inca approved. ¡Al ataque!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) dried mission figs, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 small green apple, unpeeled, cored, and diced
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (Recommended: Braggs)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- In a small (1½ quart) saucepan, add the quinoa, water, orange juice, and salt. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid - about 15 - 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff up and separate with a fork. Let it cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whisk the orange juice, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa.
- Add the remaining ingredients and combine well.
- Serve and...¡Al ataque!