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Friday, April 1, 2011

FFWD: Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Salad


So, we're starting a new month of recipes for French Friday's with Dorie.  I always enjoy checking the website and seeing what the month will hold.  We all get to vote on a selection of recipes and then the winning recipes are posted right before the start of each month.  First up for April is this quinoa, fruit, and nut salad and it had one of the highest percentages of votes.  I admit, I voted for this recipe because it sounded intriguing and like something I would never make on my own.  I've come to find out that is one of the best things about FFwD (besides all of the great people I've met through the group), making a recipe that uses new and different ingredients and flavor combinations and seeing what happens.  

I have had quinoa before in restaurants but have never cooked it myself.  If you are unfamiliar, quinoa (prounounced "keen-wah") is a highly nutritious seed (not grain as I found out from Chef Pandita) with a slightly nutty taste that can be served hot or cold. This recipe combines a mixture of dried fruit, nuts and fresh herbs into the cooked quinoa.  I'm just going to be honest here and say I had major misgivings when I was steaming the quinoa.  Call me uncool or unsophisticated, I don't care, but I thought it smelled a little bit like what one feeds to horses.  Luckily, I knew that I liked quinoa in its finished form so I pressed on.  Thankfully, I did because the end result was really good.  I used a combination of dried cherries, apricots, and golden raisins for the fruit, but you can use whatever dried fruit you'd like.  Dorie also suggests using a combination of nuts so I used sunflower seeds and almonds.  I mixed in cilantro as my choice of fresh herb (Dorie suggests cilantro, parsley, mint, or basil but I have a particular love for cilantro and thought it would add a nice burst of flavor to the salad).  Finally, you toss the salad with olive oil, ground ginger, and lemon which was such a light and fresh dressing.  I may start making this as a salad dressing for other types of salads because it was delicious and took no time to put together.  

I enjoyed this dish and think it would be great for a nice luncheon or shower dish.  I liked how all of the flavors-- from the nuttiness of the quinoa and the sweetness of the fruit and the tang from the dressing and the herbs blended together so well.  As always, you can see what everyone else thought about this dish here. 


16 comments:

  1. Your dish turned out great! My quinoa also had a different smell while steaming, like boiled peanuts. Great post!

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  2. I tried to add a comment earlier but it seems I did something wrong?

    Quinoa is so nutritious and easy to cook I find myself making it all the time! I too used cilantro in this recipe. However I don't think I'll be making this again.

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  3. That's what I enjoy so much about FFwD is that I am fixing and eat food that I would never have made on my own. Your salad looks wonderful and I am so glad that you liked it!

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  4. I agree about the salad dressing! I had a jar of ground ginger that hasn't been used since pumpkin pie season that will finally be getting more action.

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  5. Your finished dish looks wonderful. Both Tricia and I found
    the recipe simple to make, and although we had different opinions
    about it, it was fun to try. Good job on the photos.

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  6. I have to let you know that I also made your "Cream Cheese Heath Bar" Brownies last week !!! I saw them when I left a FF comment and HAD to try it. My family loved them and we even shared with Nana and Grandpa, who enjoyed them as well. Yum !!

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  7. MMmmmm...your plated salad looks lovely! I wish I had tried it with a little dab of Greek yogurt.

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  8. Oh, those cherries & apricots look great (they would never last long enough to make it into anything in my house).

    Hey - if this is how horses eat, sign me up :-)

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  9. Ryan, Your salad looks really lovely! We really enjoyed this dish…I thought the dressing was a bit bland so I added a touch of cinnamon! Kicked it up a notch!

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  10. Doesn't it feel good to make something that you only had in restaurants and love it? Quinoa is versatile and adjusts well to other ingredients. All you have to do now is continue experimenting, knowing that you like it:) Great job!

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  11. This is such a lovely salad. I have some quinoa in my cupboard begging to become this!

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  12. You did a wonderful job of plating this salad. You've made something quite homely nice to look at. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  13. I never thought to put dried fruits into quinoa. Wonderful idea.

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  14. I havent tried this one yet and I think I must try.You are one of my choices for the Stylish Blogger Award.Pls drop by at my blog for details.Thanks
    http://www.cookiedropletsetcbymarelie.com/2011/04/i-cant-believe-lisa-gave-me-this-award.html

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  15. I love your first photo. We really liked this salad, too, and I'm also keeping the dressing in mind for other salads.

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  16. I'm sure I called quinoa a grain on my blog. I never would have guessed it's a seed. Thanks for teaching me something new. And I agree - this would make a great potluck dish for a shower or other event.

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