Our pomegranate tree is producing fruit in record numbers this season. Everything in the garden seems to be fruiting early— I promise, I won’t complain about the weather in this post! This is the third fall we’ve had here in our home and it’s the biggest yield of this garnet hued fruit so far.
When planning out my menu for the Rose Story Farm luncheon I knew I wanted to use the pomegranate fruit somewhere and this quinoa salad was the perfect choice for that crunch and sweetness. This hearty salad is packed with fall flavor but doesn’t feel heavy. Best of all, it’s easy to put together but still feels and tastes special.
This is an awesome option for holiday entertaining — it covers the bases for any gluten free or vegan guests (there’s no shortage of dietary restrictions these days, am I right?) and looks festive on the buffet table. The quinoa gives a boost of protein that makes it a one-bowl meal for lunching as well. If you can throw dietary restrictions to the wind try topping it with some feta.
I’ve already made this salad a couple of times in the last week. Go ahead and make a big batch and serve it as a side, then eat up the leftovers for lunch the next day. The arugula holds up well in the fridge and you can always toss in some more fresh greens as the days go on.
If you don’t have a backyard tree busting with fruit, no worries —pomegranates are showing up at the farmers market in droves just waiting for this salad.
Fall Quinoa Salad (GF & Vegan)
Makes 8 side servings
Any type of quinoa works here, but this rainbow quinoa I found at Whole Foods is especially pretty and seems perfect for fall.
1 cup uncooked rainbow quinoa
1 cup unsalted almonds
1 cup pomegranate seeds~ about one large pomegranate or two medium sized (here’s how you easily get the seeds out)
4 cups wild organic arugula (about one box)
Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Cook the quinoa (see below) and cool. Toast the whole almonds in a dry pan until you smell the beautiful, nutty flavor perfume your kitchen. Cool almonds and quinoa. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. I don’t even mix the dressing, I just pour everything in a bowl and toss. Taste for seasoning. Enjoy!
1 cup of uncooked quinoa = 3 cups cooked.
These directions are my tweaks to the directions from thekitchn.com. Time and again it makes the fluffiest quinoa with no bitterness. The original recipe calls for rinsing the quinoa under a faucet for two minutes. With the drought I just let it soak in cool water — this saves water and does the job of removing the bitterness from the quinoa after it’s cooked.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Splash olive oil
Measure the quinoa in a large measuring cup and pour cool tap water covering the measured amount. Swirl around with your finger or a spoon and let sit for at least two minutes. Pour the ingredients into a fine mesh sieve to drain.
Put a small saucepan (with a lid that fits) over medium-high heat and drizzle in olive oil. Pour moistened quinoa into the pan and stir to coat the quinoa with the oil. Toast the quinoa, the heat will dry the water from the soaking process. This can take 3 – 5 minutes, be careful not to brown the quinoa.
Next add the water and salt and stir to combine. Bring to an aggressive bowl and cover turning down your stove to the lowest setting (on my Wolf this is the simmer setting). Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat – don’t peek. Let rest covered for 5 minutes.
Lift the lid and fluff with a fork. Let cool to mix for a salad or serve warm. You can keep the lid on after it cooks to keep it warm until you’re ready to eat. To cool quickly, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.