This healthy cranberry pecan quinoa salad with honey-orange dressing is a simple and easy salad to make for a side dish or as a light lunch on its own. Made with quinoa, dried cranberries, chopped pecans and feta cheese. Topped with a white balsamic vinegar, orange, honey and olive oil vinaigrette dressing.
Guys. I LOVE quinoa salads. They are so filling but low in calories, nutritional and make the perfect quick meal or side dish. At the beginning of the week, I often make a giant double batch of this quinoa salad for healthy on-the-go mini meals throughout the week.
If you want more salad recipes, some of my other favorites are this Easy Grapefruit Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Maple Dressing or this Pomegranate Kale Salad with Feta & Pomegranate Vinaigrette.
Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad Ingredients:
- Quinoa — The base of the salad. Use whichever type you have.
- Pecans — Roughly chop the pecans. This salad would also go well with walnuts if you prefer those instead of pecans.
- Dried Cranberries — aka “craisins”. These add a little fruity flavor to the salad and are a great way to use up those leftover dried cranberries.
- Feta — Feta just pulls this whole salad together. For me, it is essential. However, if you are looking for a vegan option, leave it out.
Ingredients for the Honey-Orange Dressing:
- Orange juice — only fresh orange juice! It tastes so much better, and you can make this whole salad with less than one orange and snack on the rest.
- Orange zest — Adds in more orange flavor. Don’t skip this one, it really does make a difference.
- Honey — If you want to make this salad vegan, you can substitute the honey for maple syrup. It will change the taste slightly but will still taste very good.
- White wine vinegar — can b substituted for white balsamic vinegar
- Olive Oil — to make the dressing smooth
- Salt & Pepper — for flavor
How to cook the quinoa for the Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad With Honey-Orange Dressing:
- Take 1 cup (uncooked) quinoa and rinse it using a fine mesh strainer for about a minute. Drain well before continuing.
- Add the 1 cup rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Make sure you have rinsed the quinoa well or you will be adding too much water and the quinoa will be mushy.
- Heat the water and quinoa over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
- Remove the pot from the heat, cover with a lid and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Using a fork, fluff the quinoa. Transfer to another container and let it cool to room temperature before mixing into the salad (about 20-30 minutes).