Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Salad {FFwD}

There’s something you should know about me. I’m not a bandwagon kind of guy. Other than a brief and scarring few years in the ’80s, I’ve never been one to jump at the latest fad. And even in that decade of turned up collars and horrible music, I refused to wear parachute pants or sign a petition vilifying Scorsese for The Last Temptation of Christ.

So the fact that everyone these days seems to be eating, writing about, and developing recipes for quinoa has done nothing to make me want to add it to my diet. If anything, people’s adulation for this supposed uber-grain has turned me off to the idea of even trying it. So I wasn’t all that thrilled with this pick as the first French Fridays with Dorie recipe for April. I even thought about skipping it. But in the end, I decided to try it, if for no other reason than I thought the fruit, nuts, seeds, and vinaigrette might be a nice combination for a couscous salad.

I started by rinsing the quinoa, then cooking it in water to soften and expand the grains.

While the quinoa was cooking, I cut up some beautiful dried fruit that I got at the West Side Market in Cleveland. The mix contained kiwi, strawberry, mango, cantaloupe, papaya, starfruit, apple, craisins, pineapple, apricot, and several other fruits.

I mixed the chopped fruit with pumpkin and sesame seeds, almonds, walnuts, and chopped parsley, stirred in the cooked and drained quinoa, then tossed the whole thing with an olive oil and lemon vinaigrette.

I had a picture of the finished product, but I somehow managed to delete it without first uploading it to my computer. You’ll have to trust me when I say it looked really appetizing.

And as for the taste, well, what can I say? Sometimes skepticism can be misplaced. I don’t know that I would eat quinoa plain like some people I know, but I could enjoy it with fruit, nuts, seed, and herbs anytime. It was best fresh, but even the next day, it was tasty and not all one big bowl of mush.

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32 Comments

  1. Kim said,

    April 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    The West Side Market in Cleveland is so amazing. Love how beautiful that dried fruit looks. Just made my quinoa salad today and have really enjoyed it.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 4, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      West Side is definitely something to be experienced. It’s one of those places you sort of take for granted when you live here.

  2. betsy said,

    April 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I guess it’s already been said, but that dried fruit mix looks amazing! Glad you chose to join the quinoa bandwagon, though. This salad has so many possibilities.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      It will be a great summer picnic salad. Much lighter and tastier than pasta salad.

  3. Lana said,

    April 3, 2011 at 4:48 am

    I am as stubborn as you with trendy things – I am yet to read Herman Hesse, as I refused to read it when all my friends did in college:)
    B ut we have a diabetic daughter, and quinoa is considered a good carbohydrate, so I followed the trend. And loved it:) I made several incarnations of it in the previous year, and loved all of them, including this one.
    Now, I am really jealous and nostalgic that you got your fruit from West Side market, as we use to shop there once a week for several years, before we moved to SoCal two years ago:( Wave to Cleveland for me next time you go there:)
    And I agree with Kayte, there was some great music in the 80s:)

    • gaaarp said,

      April 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

      Glad to hear you’ve come up with some other good quinoa recipes, as I’m going to try cooking with it again. And I’m headed back to the West Side Market for more of that dried fruit soon!

      As for bad 80s music: Wham!, Rick Astley, The Thompson Twins, Debbie Gibson, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Tiffany, Falko, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians — need I go on?!?

  4. Kayte said,

    April 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Okay, wait just a minute, music from the 80’s was great…Axl, Def, Aerosmith, Motley Crew, Winger, Skid Row, Poison, etc. etc. etc. etc. Now that we have that said, your fruit is the loveliest I have ever seen…so so pretty. I need to get this one done and posted as I do love quinoa.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks, I can’t wait to get back to West Side to buy some more.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

      I never pictured you as a head-banger.

  5. Renee said,

    April 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    My mom and sister are gluten intolerant so I’ve had a number of quinoa dishes however this was the first time I personally cooked with it as well. I think of it like rice or pasta- kinda bland on it’s own but good incorporated into things. It’s a fun substitute in summer pasta salads too. My mom mades a great dish with quinoa, lemon juice, cilantro, and cold shrimp.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      It seems like a natural substitute for couscous to me. Similar in size, shape, and texture.

  6. Adriana said,

    April 2, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I had never seen the dried kiwis before! I also like savory quinoa pilafs (cooking it with stock and adding sauteed onions, sundried tomatoes and herbs).

    • gaaarp said,

      April 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Now that I know how easy and delicious it is, I’m looking forward to trying other quinoa recipes.

  7. Teresa said,

    April 2, 2011 at 3:02 am

    I love the fruit mix you used – I just used what we normally have on hand. I loved this recipe, it’s so versatile. I’m looking forward to the leftovers already.

  8. Yuri said,

    April 2, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I’ve never seen dried fruit like yours! Wish I could get some 🙂 such vibrant colors.

  9. April 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I thought it got better each day through the week. This salad just seems infinite to me! Love the colorful fruit!

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 11:01 pm

      Thanks. It really did hold up pretty well. If I had thought to toast the nuts first, it would have been even better.

  10. April 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Gorgeous! I had a lot of reservations about this one too. I’m with you – liked. I probably liked all of the yummy stuff added in though.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      I could eat the dried fruit in yogurt any day. The quinoa wasn’t bad, though.

  11. Tricia S. said,

    April 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I am with the others on complimenting your dried fruit. And I applaud you for not eating it before putting it in the recipe 🙂 I lost a few apricots myself that route. Well clearly Nana and I have been under a rock for the last few years, since we neither heard not tried quinoa. That said, we tend to not focus on health food articles….brownie or dessert info – count us in 🙂 Nana was not a huge fan but we did enjoy it at our house. Esp with the greek yogurt on top. Yum.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      I hadn’t had quinoa before, either, but I really liked it. And, yes, I did eat quite a few of the dried fruits before I made the salad.

  12. Mary said,

    April 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I had to read this post to see the link between the movie and the salad…nicely said. I am jealous of your dried fruit mix…I wish we had that in Connecticut!

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      That’s a new vendor at West Side Market. They have all kinds of dried fruit. I can’t wait to go back and get more!

  13. Christina said,

    April 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I love the West Side Market! Your fruits are so colorful; great addition to the salad.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      West Side is great, isn’t it? I won a basket of meat from one of the vendors last week, and of course had to pick up a bunch of other stuff while I was there.

  14. Kathy said,

    April 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Your dried fruits are gorgeous! I am sure they looked amazing mixed in with the quinoa. I too, really enjoyed this salad. I liked it more without the yogurt but either way, it was tasty to me!

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      It was definintely tasty. I liked it best the day I made it, but that didn’t stop me from eating it all week!

  15. April 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’m looking forward to trying it myself today!

  16. Cher said,

    April 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Glad you worked through your reservations! Love the dried fruit. I don’t think I have ever seen dried kiwi. How cool

    • gaaarp said,

      April 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks. I have to go back to West Side and get some more of that fruit.

  17. LaJuana said,

    March 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Your dried fruit is amazing! I’m equally impressed and jealous!

    • gaaarp said,

      March 31, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks. I was so excited to find it at the market. The kiwi and strawberries were great!


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