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Recipe for red quinoa, beet and pecan salad with pomegranate-orange vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free}


Honestly, I had my holiday menu all figured out until two things happened to change the plan. I learned that one of our guests is a vegan, and I found both red rice and red quinoa at a gourmet shop a few weeks ago. Red! Vegan! Slight adjustment to a couple of recipes. Not a problem, as the menu already accommodates vegetarians and diabetics, along with a few picky eaters among the ten-and-under set. I can't wait to serve this bright red -- beet red -- quinoa, beet and pecan salad as part of my Thanksgiving buffet, to inject a shot of color and bright flavor into a meal that's so often overwhelmingly brown. While this dish isn't at all hard to put together, it's a zillion times easier if you use those lovely pre-cooked (not canned) beets in the produce section of your supermarket or Trader Joe's.


Red quinoa, beet and pecan salad with pomegranate-orange vinaigrette

From the pantry, you'll need: quinoa, pecans, pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 4-6; can be doubled.


For the salad:
1/2 cup red (or white) quinoa
4 medium beets, cooked, peeled and diced
1/4 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced scallions
Segments from 1/2 large navel orange, chopped
Chopped green onions, for garnish (optional)

For the dressing:
1/4 tsp orange zest
Juice of 1/2 large navel orange
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


Cook the quinoa in your rice cooker or on the stovetop, according to package directions. Allow to cool to room temperature, 15 minutes. You will have 1-1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa with the remaining salad ingredients. (Note: zest the orange before cutting the segments.)

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Put the lid on tightly, and shake to emulsify the dressing.

Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss. Let sit for up to 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Quinoa turkey meatloaf
Quinoa salad with tomato, feta and parsley
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
Pomegranate snow swirls
Pomegranate-orange-ginger shrimp

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Red quinoa with butternut squash, cranberries and pecans, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Quinoa and shrimp with fresh corn and cherry tomatoes, from Food Blogga
Greek yogurt cheesecake with pomegranate molasses, from Su Good Sweets
Quinoa salad with avocado, radishes, cucumbers, and cumin-lime vinaigrette, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken wings with pomegranate molasses, from Chicho's Kitchen

Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I was amazed how delicious this was.

Delicious! :) I have yet to try red quinoa but I'm guessing it tastes just like regular quinoa although pretty colors are hard to resist.

Life Alive, a vegetarian fast food place in Cambridge, makes this really good dish with quinoa and beets. If you get a chance, try out that place. Their dishes are pretty easy to replicate at home.

Better than shocking pink -- and I bet it tastes great too!

Rupert, I'm glad you liked it, because I'm making it again next week!

Raluca, the red quinoa tastes just the same. Of course, if you make this salad with regular quinoa, the beets will turn it red, won't they? I've never heard of Life Alive, but I'll check it out next time I'm in town -- thanks!

Susan, believe me, the color will be shocking to my relatives who are totally into brown food.

Wow! That is so pretty! I'm curious, though, what allowances do you have to make for a diabetic? My hubs is Type 1 (had pancreas removed) and he can eat anything as long as he takes the insulin. It's perhaps different for Type 2, I should know more....

Kate, in this recipe you won't have to adjust anything. Pomegranate molasses aren't really molasses; it's just reduced pomegranate juice. So there is no added sugar in this salad, which makes it good for diabetics, vegans, and people who love red food.

Wow, what an awesome combination of ingredients. There are some interesting flavor combos here.

Ooh all these flavors look fantastic and I got them here at home. Umm actually I got yellow beets instead of red, Won't have the vivid color but still...:)

What a brilliant salad - just love how deep the colors are. Your vegan guest will be so grateful and impressed I'm sure. I'm the same way, when I have someone coming over with special dietary requests, I aim to please.

Curt, there sure are!

Foodwanderings, the yellow beets will make a nice contrast if you use the red quinoa. Or, use regular quinoa and make it an all-yellow salad.

Jeanette, I always want to have plenty for everyone, so no one has to make a meal of side dishes alone. To me, that always feels wrong, like they are getting a meal with something left out. So I make a vegan or vegetarian main dish that others can have as a side dish. This salad would be a nice lunch salad, too.

I love those beets from Trader Joe's! Salad ready for me: just slice and add in! Now another great way to use them thanks!

Oh, this dish is beautiful! And with the pecans, I can just imagine!

What a stunning dish! And I'll bet that pomegranate-orange vinaigrette is outrageously delicious! I have always loved savory-sweet and this is it! Beautiful!

Love the colours, love the convination. Brilliant! Allways looking for new salad recipes, first because Im a salad lover, second because during the week Im a bit lazy in kitchen :)) definitively I will try this week.

Carol, I bought a lots of those beets at Trader Joe's, because they're delicious and so easy.

Tia, everything just works well together in this dish. I hope you'll try it.

Jamie, I'm absolutely into pomegranate and orange vinaigrette these days. I make a jar of it and keep it in the fridge, and drizzle a little bit on everything.

Tafino, other than cooking the quinoa, which I do in the rice cooker to make it so easy, if you use pre-cooked beets this is a really a no-cook salad, and a great main dish salad, too.

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