Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hearty Quinoa Salad (Great Fall Side Dish)

-1/2 C quinoa, cooked according to package directions or alternative preferred method
-1/2 pack sliced mushrooms
-2 large kale leaves, finely shredded
-1/3 C chopped fresh cranberries
-handful of cherry tomatoes
-handful pecans, chopped
-salt, pepper, garlic and other herbs as desired

While the quinoa is cooking, sautee the mushrooms, kale, and cranberries in a little EVOO or butter.  I personally like to use butter and also add a little water to it to get it all steamy.

Add a dash of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of garlic to the mix.

Once the mushrooms and kale have cooked about 5 minutes, toss in your tomatoes, or you can add them in fresh at the end.

When your quinoa is cooked, drain if needed and transfer the quinoa to the skillet where your veggies are cooking.  Add a little more salt and the pecans and toss to combine.  Let it all incorporate a few minutes and serve.

I actually added mozzarella to mine and will not apologize for that.  It was delicious.  However, if you want to keep it a little more on the healthy side, don't cheese it up.

I did not overly herb this, but if you wanted it to be more reminiscent of a stuffing you could add a hit of sage to it.  I actually think quinoa is a pretty good potential sub for dressing for those that are looking for an alternative.  I have been trying to eat a little healthier, but I will absolutely be eating dressing at Thanksgiving.

I like to mix light and heavy flavors.  I think quinoa has a heavy taste, to me it tastes earthy.  Any time I use it I like to add something in that tastes light, like a tomato or a cranberry or something else along those lines.  Plus, look at all those fantastic colors!

While I will not be making this for Thanksgiving, as I do not have a very quinoa friendly family and they would much prefer I come armed with pumpkin cheesecake pops or the like, I will be making this at my apartment.

Who knows...maybe a few days in advance I will have the Great Healthy Turkeyday Spoof meal. Now THAT is a challenge I may not be able to resist...

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