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Orangy Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, Pears and Pumpkin Seeds

Orange Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, Pears and Spinach

Recently, I learned that you can cook quinoa in fruit juice. Who knew? Immediately, I was inspired to put together a vegan recipe for orange quinoa salad with cranberries, pears, spinach and toasted pumpkin seeds. It packs a lot of flavor and stores well. And it works well as a Thanksgiving dish, as a side, or as a packed lunch.

This recipe makes ~8-10 servings.

Two things…

  • ・Dry quinoa has a bitter coating called “saponin”. Before you cook quinoa, thoroughly rinse it with cold water. Even when the box claims it’s rinsed, I still rinse it. I recommend using a sieve, because quinoa is hella small.
  • ・I used no pulp orange juice to make this quinoa salad. If you have some with pulp or you squeeze your own, just run it through a strainer to remove the bits.

I thought the toasted pumpkin seeds really made this dish! A surprising flavor that just worked. I hope you enjoy it too.

Explore more delicious UVK recipes, like Vegan Tater Tot Casserole with Broccoli and Mushrooms, Vegan Pear Galette with Pecans and Fennel, Pear Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing, Vegan Pumpkin Soup, Mandarin Orange Salad or Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Harissa Dressing.

Let’s go make some salad 💚

Quinoa Salad Recipe with Orange Juice, Cranberries, Spinach and Pears
A vegan quinoa salad recipe with orange juice, cranberries, pears, spinach and pumpkin seeds

Orangy Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, Pears and Pumpkin Seeds

3½ cups no pulp orange juice

2 cups quinoa, rinsed

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot (OR ~1 small shallot, finely chopped)

⅓ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp dijon mustard

2 cups chopped D’anjou pears (OR 2 medium pears, chopped)

1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach

⅓ cup chopped dried cranberries

2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

How to Make Vegan Quinoa Salad

1. Add the orange juice and quinoa to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then, lower the heat and cover with a lid. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes. Drain off any excess juice, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds. In a small, dry skillet, add the pumpkin seeds. Stir around over medium-high heat until the seeds are toasty and fragrant (a few minutes). Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. Set aside.

3. Next, you’ll infuse the olive oil with the shallots for the orange quinoa salad’s dressing. Add the olive oil and shallot to the same skillet you used for the pumpkin seeds. Over high heat, wait for the oil to start to sizzle around the edges of the shallot. Then, stir the shallot around for ~30 seconds (don’t let it brown or burn). Remove the skillet from heat. Allow to cool.

4. When everything is cooled, it’s time to assemble the orange quinoa salad. To a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil and shallots, white wine vinegar, salt, and dijon mustard. Whisk together. Then, add the quinoa and all the remaining ingredients. Stir together. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (more salt?). Serve.

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