You’ll enjoy this delicious Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad with toasted pecans, covered in a honey-orange dressing! It’s gluten-free, and very easy to make!
Well, this cranberry orange quinoa salad with pecans may not LOOK “crazy fancy”, but it sure is delicious! This gluten-free quinoa salad is a very simple looking salad, but it packs a whole lot of flavor! You can learn more about quinoa here. I found the recipe on Pinterest, and thought it would be fun to try another new recipe using QUINOA!
Recently I made Cranberry Orange Israeli Couscous (using pearl couscous), and we loved it! Because of that, I thought it might be fun to try another recipe with the same flavor combination, but use QUINOA and a slightly different salad dressing. This “superfood quinoa” salad is the result… simple to make, and very flavorful!
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How To Make Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad
The first thing you will need to do is rinse the quinoa! You can use a mesh strainer for this. Bring 2 cups of tap water to a boil on MEDIUM-HIGH heat in a medium-sized saucepan.
Add the rinsed quinoa to the pan, stir to combine, then bring the water back to a boil. Once water begins to boil, put a lid on the pan, and turn the heat down to LOW. Let the quinoa cook for about 15 minutes, OR until all the water has been absorbed by the quinoa.
Remove the saucepan from the heat once the quinoa is done. Remove the lid, then fluff up the quinoa, using a fork. Transfer the quinoa into a large salad bowl, and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Make The Salad Dressing While Quinoa Cools
While the quinoa cools, make the honey orange salad dressing (it’s so easy!). Place the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
The ingredients for the dressing are olive oil, fresh squeezed orange juice, apple cider vinegar, orange zest, honey, turmeric and thyme. Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together until they are fully combined.
Pour the honey orange dressing over the warm quinoa, and stir well, to fully mix together. Once combined, add the dried cranberries into the cranberry orange quinoa salad, and stir well.
Taste a bite of the salad, and lightly season with salt and pepper, if desired. Place the salad (covered) into refrigerator, and let it chill for at least 30 minutes.
Toast Pecans Before Adding To Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad
Toasted, chopped pecans will be the last thing to add to the chilled cranberry orange quinoa salad right before you serve it! There are TWO ways you can toast the pecans… dry toasting them in a skillet, OR baking them in the oven. Your choice. I dry toasted them in a skillet.
To toast them in a skillet: Place chopped pecans in a dry skillet. Cook on low heat, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes until they become fragrant. To oven bake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Put the chopped pecans onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.
Whichever method you use to toast the pecans, remove them from the heat when done, and let them cool BEFORE adding to the salad. Once cooled, stir them into the refrigerated cranberry orange quinoa salad.
That’s it! Now the cranberry orange quinoa salad is finished, chilled, and ready to serve! Fluff it up a bit with a fork again, and dig in! Simple, yet tasty!
Hope you enjoy this easy, tasty cranberry orange quinoa salad. Each serving is about 1/2 cup or so, for a total of 5 servings. Any leftover salad stores well in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days, if covered well, or in an airtight container. Have a great day!
Looking For More QUINOA Recipes?
You can find all of my published recipes in the Recipe Index, located at the top of the page. A few of our favorite recipes with quinoa include:
- Quinoa Enchilada Casserole (meatless)
- Thai Quinoa Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Creamy Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
- Southwest Quinoa Salad
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Original Recipe Source: https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/cranberry-pecan-quinoa-salad-with-honey-orange-dressing/
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup pecans (chopped) , toasted
- 1 medium orange , zest AND juice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey , or agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil on MEDIUM-HIGH heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add rinsed quinoa to the pan, stir to combine, then bring water back to a boil. Put a lid on the pan, and turn heat down to LOW. Cook quinoa for about 15 minutes OR until all the water has been absorbed by the quinoa. Once done, remove pan from the heat. Fluff up the quinoa, using a fork. Transfer quinoa to a large salad bowl, and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
While quinoa cools, make the salad dressing. Place ingredients in a small bowl (olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, orange zest, honey, turmeric and thyme). Whisk until fully combined.
Pour the dressing over warm quinoa, and stir well. Once combined, add dried cranberries, and stir well. Taste a bite of the salad; lightly season with salt and pepper, if desired. Place the salad (covered) into refrigerator, and let it chill for at least 30 minutes.
Toasted, chopped pecans will be the last thing to add to the chilled salad right before you serve it! There are 2 ways to toast pecans: 1) Toast them in a skillet: Place chopped pecans in a dry skillet. Cook on low heat, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes until they become fragrant. 2) Oven bake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Put the chopped pecans onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. However you choose to toast the pecans, remove from heat when done; let them cool BEFORE adding to the salad. Once cooled, stir them into the refrigerated salad, fluff with a fork, and serve! Enjoy!
Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!