Holiday Quinoa Salad

It’s time for the holidays and if you are a vegetarian (or not), you can definitely love this recipe! My friend Tessa is writing a food column for our school newspaper, and together, we made this quinoa salad for her to write about. Our friend Izzy helped too and was our “test vegetarian”. The good thing is that is vegetarian APPROVED! It has pomegranate seeds and juice, cucumber, avocado and black beans.

The big question – what is quinoa? Well, although it’s not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. You can buy it in your local health food stores, and at some grocery stores throughout the year.

When explaining it to Tessa, I said it was a mix between rice and couscous.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa (I used regular, but black looks and tastes very nice too)
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate arils/seeds
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced, seeded English cucumber
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under cool running water.  Place in a medium saucepan with 1-1/2 cups of cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until grains are tender, most of the water has been absorbed, and the quinoa has sent out little white curlicue tendrils, about 15 to 20 minutes, give or take.  Drain any remaining water and set in a wide, shallow bowl to cool completely.

Stir in the pomegranate seeds, black beans, cucumber, and avocado.  In a medium bowl, whisk the molasses, vinegar, and olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.  Scrape over the salad and stir well to coat evenly.  Sprinkle generously with additional salt to taste.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.  May be made two or three days ahead.  (For best results, add the avocado just before serving.)

Thank you to for the delicious recipe!

And by the way, check out this freakishly large difference between the avocado pits! We couldn’t believe it!

Pretty cool! Isn’t it?

Happy holiday cooking! There is more to come!

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1 Response to Holiday Quinoa Salad

  1. Cheryl says:

    Gwyneth! I just came across this post and am so excited that you and Tessa enjoyed my quinoa recipe. Can you email me the article she wrote about it for the school newspaper (if it is online somewhere)? I’d really love to read it!

    So glad you found my blog. If you like vegetarian food, you might like my new book Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables, too. Here’s more info:

    Be well,

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