If you love quinoa salads, than I’ve got something wonderful to share with you today!
With plenty of cherries left over from the previous recipe, Summer Cherry-Berry Fruit Salad, I wanted to put them to good use. This recipe has been on my to-do list for a few years now and I’m soooo happy to finally bring it to the recipe collection.
Bursting with juicy cherries, nutty pistachios and fresh mint all tossed together with a simple apple cider dressing, it’s a flavor combination that I know you’re going to love!
Serve this healthy quinoa salad as a meal or side dish. Take it to share at gatherings and get togethers, or make it ahead for quick to-go lunches. And, if you’re looking to add a little extra protein, a can of chickpeas will do the trick!
Start with gathering the ingredients, all of which are simple and should be easily accessible.
- Quinoa is found almost everywhere these days and is fairly inexpensive. Once cooked, let it cool a bit before assembling the salad. This will take the longest, but be patient, it will be worth the wait!
- Fresh cherries add juiciness and a pop of color. If out of season, dried cherries will do just fine too (see notes).
- Pistachios add their distinctly rich flavor and crunch. Feel free to substitute using almonds, roughly chopped or slivered. Pecans would be great here as well!
- I love to use shallots whenever possible, they are a little sweeter and slightly milder than other onions, but red onion will work here also. Use about 1/4 cup minced of your preferred onion.
- Finish it off with freshly chopped mint for a refreshing note, a few grinds from the pepper mill, and a little apple cider vinegar & a squeeze of lemon for zestiness.
It’s pure deliciousness with every bite!
The only real work is removing the cherry pits, for which I finally bought a cherry pitter. It’s a handy little tool to help get the job done. If you’re going to be pitting a lot of cherries, you may consider one for yourself. They are available on Amazon or Target (I bought mine from target since amazon was backordered).
Just an FYI, when working with cherries I suggest prepping them on a large plate or glass dish, instead of using a wooden cutting board, since the cherry juice may stain it. The stain will eventually go away but it’s something to consider.
Once the quinoa has cooled and the cherry pits have been removed, it’s time to assemble the salad.
In a large mixing bowl (or the pot you cooked the quinoa in), combine quinoa with the cherries, pistachios, shallot, mint, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar and squeeze of lemon, toss to combine.
Voila – a flavorful, healthy quinoa salad that you’ll probably finish off before the day is done!
And yes, I am speaking from experience. I had this two days in a row for testing purposes and both days it was gone before 6 p.m. All to myself I might add. :)
For variation, add a large handful of baby arugula to the mix. This bitterness of these greens is a nice compliment to the cherries and pistachios.
However you have yours, enjoy it to the fullest!
CHERRY, PISTACHIO + MINT QUINOA SALAD
Plump juicy cherries, rich flavored pistachios and refreshing mint tossed with heart-healthy quinoa and a light apple cider vinegar dressing. Simple and flavorful!
- 1 cup dried quinioa
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups cherries, seed removed and sliced in half or quartered
- 1 small shallot (or about 3 tablespoons), minced
- 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped mint
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- a handful baby arugula, optional
In a medium size pot/pan, add quinoa and water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, at a gentle boil, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let set 10 – 15 minutes, fluff with fork. Let cool almost completely before assembly.
In a large mixing bowl, or pot/pan you cooked the quinoa in, add the cherries, pistachios, shallot, mint, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine, adding in the optional baby arugula if desired.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Servers 4 – 6
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days.
Use dried cherries, about 1 1/2 – 2 cups, if fresh cherries are not available. Just roughly chop them before adding to salad. I haven’t made this using dried cherries so you’ll have to use your best judgement on how much to add. If you do make this with dried cherries, it would be great if you could share with us how much you used.
Change up the pistachios, using, raw or toasted, chopped or slivered almonds. Chopped pecans would also be great!
Want to add a little extra protein? Try adding a can of , drained and rinsed, chickpeas to the mix.
Sub shallots for minced red onion, using about 3 – 4 tablespoons.