Meant To Be

I was reading Apples & Onions yesterday, and the most recent post was about a Winter Quinoa Salad. You can only imagine my excitement when I realized I currently had every ingredient in my kitchen…except for the shallot and goat cheese!

Putting aside my aversion to adding sweet foods to savory dishes (which I first mentioned here), I ran to the store to get the missing ingredients; this salad looked too good to pass up.

I reduced the honey in the dressing, and made a few other small tweaks. The salad ended up being refreshingly delicious and not overly sweet at all. This salad made a beautiful presentation, proving that it would be a great dish to serve when entertaining.

Pre-blending the dressing

Goat cheese and pomegranate seeds – two key ingredients!


Mixing chicken, quinoa, pomegranate seeds with dressing

Ready to eat

Winter Quinoa Salad

What You Need

    For the Honey Shallot Vinaigrette:
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (I used 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the salad:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked according to package directions and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cut into cubes
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded (I bought pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe’s for convenience)
  • 1 cup roasted and salted pistachios in their shells (I used ½ cup only)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 4 tablespoons goat cheese

What To Do

  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mini Cusinart and blend completely.
  2. To make the salad, combine cooled quinoa, meat and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Pour in enough dressing, about half the total amount, to thoroughly moisten quinoa. Reserve the rest of the dressing to add just before serving. This can be done up to a day in advance. Keep chilled.
  3. Just before serving, shell your pistachios and lay them on a cutting board. Use a chef’s knife as a weight to crush the pistachios. Lay the blade flat – the edge facing away from you – over the nuts and press down gently with your palm. A little pressure crushes the nuts slightly and separates them from that stubborn purple skin.
  4. Stir the arugula into the salad and add more dressing if desired. Top crushed nuts and crumbled goat cheese. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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