After weeks of muffins, cakes and quick breads I am throwing my salt and savory loving self a bone with this Citrus Quinoa Salad with Apricots, Pistachios, Almonds and Mint. Yum. Say it with me, “Thanksgiving side dish perfection!” This recipe, like the Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, was inspired by the delicious Harmonious Blend Curate Bar which combines quinoa, almonds, honey, lemon and balsamic to create a sweet and savory snack you’ll truly love sinking your teeth into. So grab a bar, put your feet up and enjoy a snack all the while daydreaming of this salad, the delicious flavor combinations and the fact that it (the salad or the bar) would pair perfectly with the Dukkah Spiced Salmon I recently shared. Talk about a harmonious blend. Batch cooking. I love it. Cooking ahead literally keeps me sane during the week. Our schedules are chaotic and there are nights we all eat at different times. Knowing my fridge is stocked with food that each of us can enjoy allows me to exhale after a long work day.
Cooking grains has long been a part of my meal prep routine. On Sunday I make a few grains like rice or quinoa, some pasta and a bean. If I am particularly crazed I make sure there is a stash of frozen grains in the freezer. Let’s talk about that for a minute. For years I used to by the frozen rice and quinoa from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and then I had a moment of clarity. I am buying frozen, cooked grains which means I can cook and freeze MY grains! Life changing. And money saving. Do it.
Moving on. I have grains on hand. This is a must. Come dinner time, the last thing I want to mess with is a pot of grains. Remember–if I could, I would cook everything in the oven so I can I walk away and forget about it.
With cooked grains on hand, I can have my chicken or fish cooking away in the oven and this side-dish is as easy as adding the other ingredients and stirring. Luckily, these ingredients tend to be in my pantry and I always leave room for improvisation. While that may manifest as a full-on comedy routine between Hudson, Ashli and I (laughter, even at your own expense, is never a bad thing), it is often as simple as swapping dried cherries for the apricots or some walnuts for the almonds. You get the point. Keep it simple. Recipes are a guide. Use what you have and let go of the idea of perfection (read more on this). Have fun in the kitchen!
This salad is fun. It is bright, colorful and loaded with flavor and texture. By the way, it is also a nutrient dense powerhouse of a meal. Quinoa is a whole grain rich in protein, fiber and essential micronutrients. Then there is the crunch of the almonds and pistachios which boast anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and more. Round it out with sweet and anti-oxidant rich citrus and apricots and a handful of fresh, vibrant herbs and you will agree, this salad is a keeper. Thanksgiving…I’m telling you!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
- ¾ cup chopped, dried apricots
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup shelled, chopped pistachios
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, shallot, apricots, almonds, pistachios and herbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, lemon juice, white balsamic, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to the quinoa and mix to combine.