Roast Cranberry Quinoa Salad

This year I was sure I would get to holiday baking in early November so I could put together some nice postings PRIOR to Thanksgiving. But, alas, here I am writing several days after Thanksgiving. My apologies. However, the good news is these recipes would be great for Christmas or any other upcoming holiday get-together. Oh, and the red and green in this salad is perfect for Christmas! I hope you can incorporate them into your festive holiday meals 🙂

The spice and tang of the pepper and lime combined with the sweet cranberries and earthy quinoa makes a great combination for a side salad. I did notice that the Serrano pepper got lost amongst all the other flavors so you may want to use an entire pepper if you want the spice or skip it altogether.

  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • ~ 8 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 of a Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6-8), thinly chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups whole fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 lime
  • Mint
  • Cilantro

Begin by roasting your whole fresh cranberries. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking/roasting pan with foil that overhangs and place cranberries inside. Pour the sugar and a sprinkle or two of salt over the cranberries, toss. Drizzle 2 tbsp. honey over the cranberries and a generous amount of olive oil. Toss again and place in the oven. Roast until the cranberries are soft and sweetened, about 20 minutes. You want them to be soft and sweet enough to eat on their own (they will of course still have a tang to them) but not so soft they have broken down into a sauce. Set aside to cool.

While your cranberries are roasting, place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, chop your garlic, scallions, and Serrano pepper and add to a large bowl. Squeeze your lime into the bowl. Add 2 tbsp. honey and stir. Add the cooled quinoa and toss. Grabbing the foil edges of the cranberries carefully pour the cranberries and sauce into the quinoa. You want to keep the sauce – don’t throw that out. Toss to combine.

Last, chop a generous amount of mint and cilantro and toss to combine. Add the remaining 4 tbsp. of honey to the salad and stir. Taste and add any additional salt or honey you may need. This salad is best if stored in the refrigerator for several hours before serving so you can taste and adjust seasonings right before serving. The flavors will meld and you’ll have a better idea of what is needed – most likely a tad more sugar or herbs.

Serves: 8-10 side servings

Recipe Source: Original

Time: ~1 hour

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