This can make a nice lunch or dinner if you're willing to make a meal out of it!
The colors and textures in the finished salad are a great combination.
It's even better the next day after the salad has rested and the flavors have had a chance to blend. The dried cranberries benefit from the time since they plump a little, too!
Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda
slighty adapted from Fine Cooking, February/March 2011
serves 6 as a main course, 10 as a side dish
1 1/2 c quinoa
2 1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
5 T olive oil
1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise
2 T balsamic vinegar
4 oz. arugula, washed
4 oz. aged Gouda, finely diced
3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 c walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted if desired
1 large or 2 medium crisp apples, such as Fuji, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 c finely sliced fennel bulb
3/4 c dried cranberries
3 T sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the quinoa in a large strainer, rubbing the grains a bit to help remove the bitter coating if it's still present. Drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium- high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer until the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is tender but still slightly crunchy, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, keeping it covered, and let rest 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool.
While the quinoa cooks, heat 2 T of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and slightly caramelized (6-8 minutes). Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar evaporates and absorbs into the onions, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apples, walnuts, fennel, and cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 T olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 t salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently toss together. Let it rest a moment, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add extra olive oil if the salad seems dry.
Serve room temperature or cold.