After a couple weeks of super decadent food, I was ready for something meat-free and on the lighter side. I had bought some fresh cranberries and some mandarin oranges and decided to do something with them. Growing up, my mom always bought these mandarin oranges every Christmas. Who else remembers this tradition? We would have them under the tree and eat them by the handfuls…easy to peel and so sweet! So what a great combination! Tart cranberries and sweet oranges. These made a delicious wintery vinaigrette! From our earlier posts, you all know that we LOVE quinoa..so it was automatic that I would make a quinoa salad with this dressing. Adding crunchy winter apples, walnuts and beans for even more protein….this is a meal in and of itself! You can make this salad adding any and every vegetable that you like to bulk it up along with your favorite spices. It’s beautiful, filling and super healthy! A guilt free holiday treat! Enjoy!!
2 c. quinoa
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 yellow pepper small diced
2 ribs celery small diced
1 apple small diced
1 tsp. coriander
1-2 c. cooked beans of your choice, liquid drained (I used red beans and cooked them myself)
mandarin oranges, segmented
salt and pepper
Cranberry Vinaigrette: This makes more than you will need for the salad, but I love to have extra vinaigrette on hand. You can use in in another salad, as a marinade for meat or chicken or even reduce to make a great syrup,
1 c. fresh cranberries
1 T. minced shallots
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. honey
1 t. dijon mustard
3 mandarin oranges, segmented
1/2-3/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine quinoa and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside to make dressing.
In a blender combine cranberries, shallot, vinegar, honey, dijon, oranges and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until combined thoroughly. Slowly drizzle olive oil into blender while running until vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
The final result is this gorgeous color and very tasteful dressing.
Combine cooked quinoa with peppers, celery, apple, coriander, beans and mix everything together. Add enough cranberry vinaigrette to coat (or to your liking) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate salad and garnish with pecans, feta, cranberries and oranges.
Beijos e Tchau!