Saffron Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Almonds
Quinoa Salad with Saffron Dressing
Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving and need an extra, seasonably-colored side, or you are heading to someone else’s feast and want to bring a dish that’s sure to impress the masses, a salad with dried fruits and nuts is a safe bet. That said, everyone has already seen such a salad made with greens and/or wild rice and it is almost always tossed in a creamy vinaigrette.
Stray from the norm by replacing the main ingredient with quinoa (red, white, or a combination) and send it over-the-top with a delicious lemon saffron dressing.
This quinoa salad recipe is super simple to make and contains everything you could want in a single salad. It just might send your palate into a frenzy with the sweetness from apricots, crunchiness from almonds, earthiness from quinoa, tanginess from the lemon, saltiness from feta, and a floral element added by the saffron.
As if the flavor weren’t reason enough to make this saffron quinoa salad, it is also gorgeous—a show stopper. Actually, you might want to set it on the opposite end of the table from the turkey, turducken, tofurky, or whatever is meant to be the highlight of the meal. Otherwise, it just might steal the glory from the main dish.
This dish can be served at room temperature as a salad, but would also be fantastic served warm as a comforting side dish. If you choose to serve it warm, wait to add the cheese until right before serving.
Apricot and Almond Quinoa Salad with Lemon Saffron Dressing
- 1 cup dried quinoa red or white
- 2 cups broth (chicken, beef, mushroom, or another)
- Large pinch of saffron
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- ¾ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup crumbled feta or chevre
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- ½ bunch curly parsley, roughly chopped
- 1-2 scallions, sliced thinly (white and green parts)
- Place the quinoa and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, turn the heat down and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Pull the quinoa from the heat. Leave the lid on and let sit for at least 5 more minutes.
- While your quinoa is cooking, prepare your dressing by mixing together saffron, basil, lemon juice, oil, garlic, mustard, maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let sit for at least 15 minutes so the saffron flavor is well infused into the dressing.
- Toss the quinoa, apricots, almonds, feta, red onions, parsley, and scallions until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the dressing over the dish and toss to combine thoroughly.
Serve immediately alongside your favorite autumn or winter entrée. This dish can be prepared in advance, too. Just wait to add the dressing until right before serving.
This, like any other dish you prepare, will only be as good as the ingredients you use. So use only the best! Find high-quality saffron here!