Time to make some delicious apple cranberry quinoa salad! This is a filling and fresh salad with a nice balance between the sweetness of the fruit, the bite from the onion and cilantro, and the zing from the vinaigrette.
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I love making salads with a whole grain base like quinoa. You can make them in advance, toss in the dressing, and not worry about leafy greens going soggy. In fact, quinoa salads tend to taste better the next day because the flavours have time to develop together.
Adding a whole grain like quinoa to a salad can make your salad more filling. It can turn a side dish into a mail meal. This apple cranberry quinoa salad is a great recipe to meal prep for lunches. Make a full batch at the start of the week and enjoy for the next few days!
This recipe works best with quinoa that is cooled off, so if you have leftover quinoa around that’s perfect! If you are cooking the quinoa for this recipe, you will want to let it chill completely in the fridge before eating the salad. This apple cranberry quinoa salad is best served nice and cold.
There are a lot of opportunities to substitute ingredients here; feel free to customize the salad to your taste. You can easily take this recipe as a starting point and make dozens of different variations! For example, you could use:
- Parsley instead of cilantro;
- Mango, peaches or nectarines, instead of apples;
- Dry apricots instead of/in addition to the dry cranberries;
- Add in some pumpkin seeds or walnuts for an extra crunch.
There are also a variety of ways you can serve this salad. It can be eaten as is, served over a bed of leafy greens, tossed into a lettuce or collard green wrap, and/or topped with some diced avocado! If you are packing this apple cranberry quinoa salad for lunch, pack your leafy greens separately and toss with the quinoa when you’re ready to eat.
Let me know how you like to eat you quinoa salads in the comments below.
Apple Cranberry Quinoa Salad
- Medium-sized Pot
- Large bowl
- Cutting Board
- 1 C quinoa
- 2 C water
- 2 apples , chopped (about 1 1/2 C/ medium sized apples)
- 1/2 C dry cranberries
- 1/4 C onion , finely chopped
- 2/3 C cilantro , chopped
- Put the quinoa and water into a pot, bring it up to a boil, then place the lid on the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Alternatively you could use a rice cooker if you have one. Take the quinoa off the heat and put it in the fridge to chill.
- While the quinoa cooks, chop the apple, onion, cilantro and toss them into a bowl with the dry cranberries.
- Next, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients or shake together in a jar. I like to keep the dressing a bit tangy to compliment the sweetness of the fruit, but if you find the vinegar to be too strong you can either add in more olive oil or add in a bit of sugar/sweetener of choice to cut the tartness.
- Once the dressing is ready, toss it with the chopped fruits and veggies and stir in the quinoa.
- Chill the salad until it's cold and serve!