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Quinoa salad with roasted sweet potato, apples, dried cranberries and pine nuts

Flavors of Fall! Quinoa salad with sweet potatoes and apples. #vegan

Spring might be just around the corner, but here in New England, winter -- and its dearth of locally grown green vegetables and red tomatoes -- keeps us firmly in its grip. Fortunately, the farm stands and winter farmers' markets still have plenty of storage sweet potatoes and apples, and everything else in this quinoa salad comes straight from the pantry.

Substitute at will, as long as you keep color in mind, for it is color that we crave as much as flavor at this time of year. Hang on, New Englanders! Spring is just one week away. Ramps, fiddleheads and garlic scapes will be popping up any day now. Until then, we have tangy apples, sugary sweet potatoes, and a simple cider vinaigrette to keep our taste buds happy.

Quinoa salad with sweet potatoes, apples and cranberries: the flavors of Fall.

Quinoa salad with roasted sweet potato, apples, dried cranberries and pine nuts {vegan, gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: quinoa, extra virgin olive oil, onion, pine nuts, cider vinegar.

Serves 6.


1 cup quinoa
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced (do not peel)
1 firm red apple, diced (do not peel)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pine nuts


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Rinse and drain the quinoa, and place it in a rice cooker. Fill the cooker to the 1 cup mark, and set to cook. (Or, cook on the stovetop, according to package directions.) When the quinoa is cooked, turn off the cooker and allow the quinoa to steam, with the top closed, for 15 minutes. (Or, on stovetop, remove pot from the heat and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes.) Scrape the quinoa into a large mixing bowl, and let cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Place the diced sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until just tender and starting to brown slightly. Remove from the oven, and set aside.

WHILE THE SWEET POTATO IS COOKING, stir together the red onion with 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Cook over lowest heat for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is very soft and beginning to brown slightly. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, until the dressing emulsifies (thickens). Toss in the quinoa, sweet potato, onion, diced apple and cranberries.

In the same frying pan in which you cooked the onion, toast the pine nuts for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until the nuts begin to brown. Add those to the mixing bowl, and gently toss to bring all of the ingredients together.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More quinoa recipes:
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette, from The Perfect Pantry
Red quinoa, beet and pecan salad with pomegranate-orange vinaigrette, from The Perfect Pantry
Quinoa with roasted Brussels sprouts, leeks and slivered almonds, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Quinoa with currants, dill and zucchini, from 101 Cookbooks

Quinoa salad with sweet potato, apples, cranberries and pine nuts brings together all of the flavors of Fall. #vegan #glutenfree

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What a gorgeous salad, Lydia! I can only imagine the symphony of flavors. :-)


love quinoa salads are delicious!

Shirley, glorious colors, bright flavors, vegan and naturally gluten-free!

Gloria, I'm finding more and more ways to cook with quinoa, and really enjoying it.

This is beautiful! I'm always looking for new ways to serve quinoa so i am pinning this one.

Oh my. I love everything about this. (Especially the pine nuts!)

Nancy, thanks so much. I love the colors here.

Kalyn, the nuts are such a nice finishing touch!

This made a ton! I'd make less quinoa next time as it doesnt look lile the proportions in the photos. Added a bit more vinegar after tasting, and I think it will be even better tomorrow. Used toasted walnuts in place of pine nuts. I packaged it into 4 containers for work lunches and will take some baby spinach and/or roast turkey bits to go with it.

Cheryl, I love it when readers adjust recipes to their own taste. For me, the quinoa was the main ingredient, but I wanted to make sure you could see all of the other goodies in the salad! Sounds like you will have wonderful lunches during the week. The recipe does make 6 generous servings, so you could cut it in half.

I love all the flavour combinations! This needs to be on my menu next week :)

I'm collecting recipes with quinoa - love the combination of sweet potatoes, cranberries and apples. At the risk of being politically incorrect, I would eat this any season of the year.

Love the sound of this salad!

It's looks so good, we don't like quinoa around here unfortunately so i will make it with couscous, Thanks!

Had it for lunch today - yummo! Best thing about quinoa aside from taste is how light it is. You don't feel bogged down and sleepy after eating it. And sorry, but 4 servings, not six, as good as it was :-).

you make mud-season in New England seem so much more appetizing! Ironically I just picked up some quinoa with black beans and roasted corn salad at Whole foods this weekend - but your salad looks even better!

I can't wait for Spring and all the lighter vegetables. However, I would certainly enjoy your quinoa salad as my good bye to winter veggies!

I made this for lunch today and it was great! What I loved best was that it wasn't heavy at all. Will definitely be making this again.

Well you must be very lucky to have the garden at home. That is something I really want to. I think this would be very lovely to grab our own vegetable and cook it directly. Thanks for the recipe anyway.

Thank you for sharing this yummy healthy recipe. I love cranberries, so I can guarantee you that this would be my other favorite foods. Instead of dried, I think I am going to add fresh cranberries here.

i've made this twice so far and LOVE it! i have friends still begging for me to make it for them. i add more sweet potatoes and dried fruit because it was a little quinoa heavy following the original recipe. next time i'll definitely add walnuts!!! thanks so much!

Just made this salad, A++++++. Did'nt have pine nuts so used sunflower seeds. GREAT!

Loved all the textures and flavors, so delicious and healthy. Will definitely make this again!

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