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Fruity Quinoa Salad with Pecans

Fruity Quinoa Salad with Pecans | www.thatwasvegan.com

This is one of my favorite summer dishes, and probably my absolute favorite thing to make when serving a large group. We all know how insanely good-for-us quinoa is, and this dish combines that goodness with crisp celery, sweet apples and raisins, tangy cranberries, crunchy pecans and just a hint of cilantro. Oh, and because I made it, you know there’s some chili powder in there too 😉

I highly recommend it for your next summer gathering or office potluck- or even just whip some up this weekend and enjoy it all next week! If you follow the directions, the apples stay crisp and fresh for days in the fridge, I promise!

Before I share the recipe though, I wanted to share some shots of the crazy storms we had last week- Thunder and lightening, rain and hail. I read that we got 4 inches in less than 3 hours on Wednesday night, and on Thursday we got hammered (literally) with ping pong sized hail. Insane!

This was the view from my front door:

(Those Salvia plants lost pretty much all their purple 🙁 )

This was my view out the back door:

(those potted flowers absolutely did not make it)

And here’s a close-up of a piece of the Wednesday-night hail:

We had hail that size for almost THREE HOURS! Thankfully the cars were in the garage, but some of the neighbors were caught a little more off guard- I could hear an alarm going off down the street. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I rushed out to try and save my basil plants (which died anyway) and got bonked on the head a few times by those monsters… And that wasn’t even the worst of it- the following night they were even bigger! Here’s a shot of one, that had already started to melt. Not sure if you can really tell, but it was almost twice the size:


Anyway, back to the Quinoa Salad… 

Fruity Quinoa Salad with Pecans
Serves 5
A light dish perfect for any meal!
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  1. 3/4 cup dried quinoa, prepared per package instructions
  2. 2 apples, chopped (but not peeled)
  3. 3/4 tablespoon white rice vinegar
  4. 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  6. 1/2 cup celery, sliced in half lengthwise, then chopped
  7. 3/4 cup mix of dried cranberries (I used Craisins), white raisins, and regular raisins (many stores carry a mix like this in their bulk section, or near the produce section)
  8. 1 teaspoon chili powder (I used a NM blend)
  9. 2 tablespoons oil (I used Sesame, but you could sub EVOO)
  10. Sea salt as needed
  11. 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  12. 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Prepare your quinoa, per package instructions, then set aside to cool.
  2. In a tupperware, mix your chopped apples with the vinegar and lemon juice. Make sure there's enough liquid to coat the apples, but not enough to cover them. Put the lid on, shake lightly (you don't want to bruise the apples), and set in the fridge.
  3. In a large bowl mix the cooled quinoa with the onions, celery, cranberries, chili powder and oil. Taste, then add salt as needed.
  4. You can now mix the apples and the vinegar/juice back in with the salad. The salad will keep for days in the fridge, but don't add the cilantro and pecans until you're about to serve it for the first time.
  1. I almost always make this dish when I need something for a potluck. It's also great for BBQs too!
Adapted from All Recipes
Adapted from All Recipes
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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • * Vegan Sparkles * June 13, 2012, 6:36 am

    Good grief! We had storms here yesterday but not hail as crazy as that! Your poor basil plants!
    Oh well, at least you had yummy salad. 🙂 I had a similar one for lunch today – quinoa goes well with EVERYTHING, doesn’t it! I can’t believe I only tried it for the first time recently.

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:08 am

      I can’t believe that either! 🙂

  • An Unrefined Vegan June 13, 2012, 7:13 am

    I love having a salad like this mixed up and ready in the frige. The pecans are what make it for me, for sure. Wow – that hail is nuts!! Sorry about your plants :-(.

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:09 am

      Thanks for the condolences… guess I’m off to Lowes this weekend to pick up some more!

  • gail June 13, 2012, 8:26 am

    great recipe – I am always looking for good summer side dishes. and that hail was CRAZY! worst we’ve seen it in the nearly 5 yrs we’ve lived here. your hail pics look just like mine! losing our plants was sad, but that was pretty much the only damage we had, thankfully!

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:09 am

      Thanks Gail! It was the worst I’ve seen too. We got some roof damage as well, and the insurance adjustor is coming out today to look at it, so cross your fingers for me!

  • Hannah (BitterSweet) June 13, 2012, 8:26 am

    Holy crap, I promise not to complain about the weather here again for the rest of the season! That is absolutely insane, and I’ve NEVER seen hail like that before.

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:10 am

      I’ve never seen anything like it either, not during all my years in NH or CA (although we really didn’t have storms in CA, just earthquakes 😉 )

  • Bianca- Vegan Crunk June 13, 2012, 2:32 pm

    Wow! That is some SERIOUS hail. I’ve never seen it that big!

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:10 am

      Yah, I was losing my mind- and so were the dogs. I just stood on the front porch with my jaw dropped!

  • epicureanvegan June 13, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Isn’t amazing how we can be less than an hour apart and have such different weather?! We never had a drop of water. Right now, we could really use some of rain (I’ll even take the hail)! Sorry about your plants tough. 🙁 The quinoa looks delicious!

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:11 am

      Colorado weather is crazy all around, but especially the way it differs across short differences. I know you guys have a really bad fire up there right now 🙁

  • thecrueltyfreereview June 13, 2012, 5:41 pm

    I could eat this for every meal for a week and not get tired of it. Now I regret not taking any leftovers 🙁 I’ll be making some for the baby shower I will be attending in a few weeks. It will probably be the only vegan option there.

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 6:11 am

      That’s okay, it was more for me 🙂

  • erika June 14, 2012, 7:45 am

    Oh! That storm makes me miss Michigan! (My native stomping grounds.) I LOVE a good storm, at the same time my years there were never as a homeowner. That makes a little difference. 🙂 The quinoa looks lovely, can’t wait to give it a try. I have a feeling my kiddos may like it too!

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 7:49 am

      I’ve always liked storms too, but now I worry about my dogs, all of whom are afraid of thunder. And, of course, my landscaping 🙂 Let me know how your kiddos like it. I don’t have kids so I try to *guess* which recipes they might like, but I really have no frame of reference for what’s kid friendly and what isn’t.

  • glutenfreehappytummy June 14, 2012, 8:44 am

    oh my gosh that hail is HUGE!!! and or 3 hours! yikes! and that salad looks SOOOO incredibly delicious! i love fruit and pecans together…the sweet and nutty…mm! thanks for sharing!

    • Barb June 14, 2012, 5:05 pm

      Our insurance company thought it was huge too… they’re giving us a new roof! I love the flavor combo too… it’s soo good! 🙂

  • Heather June 15, 2012, 4:36 am

    I love quinoa and fruit, so naturally I am super excited to try this out! I never thought to add heat to fruit salad; – what a great idea!

    What a crazy storm you had! I would have been absolutely devastated to lose my plants, I am so sorry that you lost your basil- good thing is basil is a fast grower, you can plant a few more basil plants and have still have anice little harvest, if I could I could send you some of my own 🙂

    • Barb June 21, 2012, 9:49 am

      Aww, you’re so sweet 🙂

  • allarminda June 15, 2012, 9:41 am

    Love this salad! Made it last night and just blogged about it today with many shout-outs to you, of course! Thanks for continuing to add to my extensive vegan repertoire!

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