The first weekend of October, our city celebrates a Neighbor’s Night Out as a way to get neighbors together. There is also a national program that’s similar, but apparently we like to be rebellious and hold it two months later. But we do still have nice weather here in early October, and this way the college students that might be out of town in August can participate as well.
So, despite knowing well full in advance that I was going to need to bring something to the pot luck if I wanted to eat anything there, and despite knowing I was definitely going to forget to get something planned if I didn’t write it on the calendar, I didn’t write anything down and I remembered needing to bring something about 20 minutes before the party started. I created this, basically a dump of fall-type ingredients I already had on hand, to solve the problem. It took just a little more than 20 minutes, but not much. And it was well received by people other than me! Win.
Fall Quinoa Salad
*Note that I created this on the fly, so measurements are approximate. In reality, I added stuff until it looked like a good mix.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 a red onion, sliced
- 1 smallish apple, diced
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- olive oil
- white wine vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
Start by preparing quinoa. I use twice as much water as quinoa, in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover for 15 minutes to cook, then turn off heat and let sit covered another 5 minutes.
Caramelize the onion. I used a safe butter, but a safe for you oil works. There’s a decent explanation of how to do it here. If you’re only doing a small amount of onion, it will finish at about the same time as your quinoa. More onions = more cooking time. If you don’t mind cheating, you can add a little brown sugar toward the end to finish them faster.
Dump the main ingredients in a big serving bowl. Mix up a little vinaigrette to splash over. A 1 part vinegar to 3 or 4 parts oil is what my husband makes me stick to because vinegary things annoy him. So I probably did about a Tablespoon vinegar to a 1/4 cup oil. Throw some salt and pepper on top, and mix it well. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve when you feel like it.
Substitutions might be apple cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar. For oil, something as light or lighter than olive is what I’d recommend. Sesame, grapeseed are probably good options. Coconut would be too heavy.
I scribbled this all down in hopes I’d post it somewhere to share, and so I could remember to make it again! Hopefully next time I’ll take a picture and add it here too. Enjoy!