A light, flavor-packed salad that’s delightful paired with virtually any grilled protein but stands alone as a complete vegetarian meal. For a vegan alternative, simply omit the feta. And try substituting dried cherries or cranberries when the fresh cherry season has ended. 🍒
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’ve enjoyed incorporating those jams into various recipes from salad dressings to grilled shrimp. The following 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’re not a maker of homemade jam, no worries; your favorite purchased peach or apricot jam will work just fine.
The easy, prep-ahead salad is a little out of the ordinary but has delighted family and friends. Leftovers provide a welcome lunch later in the week.
Virtually any grilled protein will round out the meal, but it stands alone as a complete vegetarian meal－vegan if the feta is omitted or swapped with nutritional yeast. If you’d rather not fire up the grill, this would be an ideal time to try Slow Roasted Salmon or Smoky Skillet Chicken.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- ½ cup peach jam (could substitute apricot)
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar (I have also used apple cider vinegar)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon (may skip this but it gives the dressing a nice flavor boost)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and quartered (or use ⅓ 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
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped (or 3-4 green onions, chopped)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped (If no herbs are available, I stir in 2 lightly packed cups baby spinach or arugula instead.)
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
- ⅓ cup feta cheese, crumbled (heaping if you love feta like I do!)
- ¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted (chopped Smokehouse almonds are delicious, too)
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 1¾ cups water and the quinoa to a boil in a large pot, cover, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook 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 ½ 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.
•If you prefer a tangier dressing, feel free to add an extra drizzle of vinegar or a touch more Dijon, to taste.