Have you been tasked with bringing a salad or side to your next holiday gathering? If so, this Quinoa Harvest Salad is just the thing! In fact, I’m bringing it to a Thanksgiving party tonight, where we’re expecting 60 people. It’s our big Thanksgiving outreach party for our ministry, where we serve Thanksgiving-inspired turkey sandwiches with turkey, cranberry sauce, apples and cheese on a big sesame bun from a local bakery. For dessert we have the classic pumpkin pie and apple crisp – the aroma of which is currently filling my house as they bake away.
I made this salad last year and it was a big hit. The dressing is seriously to-die-for, as it’s sweetened with maple syrup and has some fall-themed spices in it. It also calls on other well-loved fall ingredients, such as dried cranberries, toasted pecans and pears. There’s so much room to be creative with which of Conebella Farm’s hard cheeses you use. I’ve seen similar recipes calling for cheddar, colby, fresh mozzarella or cheese curds, or you could even use a soft cheese. Shop online to see all of the Conebella Farm Cheeses available!
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup toasted pecans or pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup Conebella cheese such as a plain Colby, Cheddar, cheese curds or fresh mozzarella
- 1 crunchy pear, such as bosc or Asian, diced
- 2 cups spinach, washed and dried
- ⅓ cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon. cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Cook and cool the quinoa.
- Toast the pecans on a sauté pan over medium heat, keeping a close eye on them so that they don't burn. Allow to cool. If using pumpkin seeds, pre-cook them and allow to cool.
- Dice the cheese into ½ inch pieces.
- Dice the pear into ½ inch pieces
- Chop the spinach into strips
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, syrup, mustard and spices.
- Mix together the quinoa, pecans or pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cheese, pears and spinach.
- Add the vinaigrette and stir until combined. Serve and enjoy!