Every summer, I make several varieties of homemade jam that we enjoy throughout the year on toast and good old PB&J’s. In recent years, I have enjoyed incorporating those jams into various recipes from salad dressings to grilled shrimp. This quinoa salad offers a delightful balance of sweet, thanks to the fruit and jam, and tangy, compliments of the vinegar, Dijon, and feta cheese. When cherries are not in season, I prepare the salad with dried cherries or cranberries. And if you are not a maker of homemade jam, no worries; your favorite purchased peach or apricot jam will work just fine. This is an easy, prep-ahead salad that is a little out of the ordinary, delights guests, and is a welcome lunch later in the week.
Yields 6-8 side servings
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup peach jam (could substitute apricot)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (I have also used apple cider vinegar)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon (may skip this but it gives the dressing a nice flavor boost)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and quartered (or use 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries)
- 1 cup edamame or lima beans (cooked according to package directions, if frozen, or steamed until al dente if fresh; see note)
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped (or 4 green onions, chopped)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (If no herbs are available, I stir in 2 lightly packed cups baby spinach or arugula instead.)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (heaping if you love feta like I do!)
- 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
For the vinaigrette, place the jam, vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, salt, and water in a small jar. Screw on the lid and shake until thoroughly blended and emulsified. Conversely, you may add the ingredients to a small bowl and thoroughly mix.
Rinse the quinoa and drain well. Bring 1 1/4 cups water and the quinoa to a boil in a large pot, cover, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook 10-12 minutes or until all the water in absorbed and the quinoa is just tender but still a little firm to the bite. Once cooked, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, and then drizzle about 1/2 of the vinaigrette over the quinoa and toss to coat. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Add the cherries, edamame or limas, celery, onion, herbs or greens, and feta to the quinoa. Toss to combine.
Refrigerate until ready to serve, ideally for a few hours to allow the vinaigrette to soak into the quinoa a bit and the flavors to combine. Before serving, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and drizzle with additional vinaigrette to moisten, tossing to combine.
- I started making this salad without the edamame or lima beans but find it adds a bit more “oomph” to the dish. Feel free to use whichever you prefer–we like them both equally–or omit them altogether.