Easy Cherry Almond Quinoa Salad + Honey Ginger Dressing - gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, vegan optional
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A quick and easy one-bowl meal that will have you licking your lips. Your quinoa never had it so good as the honey ginger dressing highlights the nutty flavor of this protein-packed ancient grain paired with sweet cherries and almonds. Can be made ahead and makes a wonderful school or work lunch. Enjoy!
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 8-10 main course
  • Ingredients:
  • For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup raw honey (vegan option: agave nectar, or coconut nectar)
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons GF sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt and crushed black pepper
  • For the quinoa salad:
  • 2 cups quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s organic quinoa brand)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 cups dark sweet cherries (I used 2 cups), pitted and halved
  • ½ cup sliced almonds (skinless) or other nut, desired, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup dried apricots, cut into thin slivers
  • ½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 butterhead lettuce (Boston or Bibb variety), torn into salad-sized pieces
  1. Preparation:
  2. For the dressing, add all the ingredients into a mini food processor to blend well OR grate the ginger then add it into a bowl (or jar) with the remaining dressing ingredients and whisk well. Set aside.
  3. Note: This is a thinner dressing, so no need to slowly add the oil in to emulsify the dressing.
  4. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil then add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and quinoa; reduce heat to low and cover. Let it simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid has absorbed (you will see air holes throughout). Remove from heat and, let stand for 10 minutes (still covered).
  5. Meanwhile, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Whisk or mix the dressing once more before pouring a few tablespoons over the quinoa (add the rest later).
  6. Toast the almonds in a small pan set over medium heat (do not oil the pan) for about 5 minutes or until light golden brown; add to the bowl. Then apricots, and red onion, and butterhead (also known as “butter lettuce” to the bowl. Toss to combine well; add more dressing and toss again.
  7. Note about strong onion flavor: If you are not a fan of raw onions in your salad try tossing the sliced onions into a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes or so. This will remove the strong onion flavor.
  8. If you prefer less dressing on your salad store any remaining dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week for another salad (goes with anything!). It will solidify a bit when refrigerated, leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes and whisk before using. Stores well, sealed in the refrigerator for 5 days. The cherries, however, will impart their reddish color to the quinoa when stored.
  9. Notes:
  10. I used butter (bibb) lettuce here but you can certainly use any lettuce variety. I also like arugula or mache. If you do use this dressing for grain-free salads such as arugula, mache, baby romaine, or baby kale it is better to make it the same day otherwise the dressing will wilt the greens the next day.
  11. If cherries are out of season, use frozen, well drained or seedless grapes, sliced.
  12. For freezing: I recommend transferring this to a large freezer-safe container with a tight lid. Storing in a freezer-safe zip loc bag may give off some freezer burn as I noticed the first time I froze it this way.
Recipe by From Jessica's Kitchen at http://fromjessicaskitchen.com/easy-cherry-almond-quinoa-salad-honey-ginger-dressing/