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Quinoa Salad with Gruyere, Walnuts, & Dried Fruit Medley

A couple weeks back my Fireman so sweetly brought lunch to some friends of our that were in need of some good company- and if you know my sweet man, he is awesomely good company.  When asked what our friends would like, they simply replied ‘Anything off the Whole Foods bar’.  So, as my Fireman was on his way out, he gave me a ring- causing my face to become a tad green with envy.  I wanted lunch off the Whole Foods bar!  After getting past a brief pout I realized he had never been in WF by himself.
Me: ‘Do I need to walk you through it?
FM: ‘No, Amber.  I got it, I think.  They told me just what they wanted.
Me: ‘Alright, buddy.’
That evening our conversation went just like this.
FM: ‘Sweet Pea.. (thats what my Fireman calls me.. awww, cute. Yes- I know.) is ke-noi-waa good for you?
Me: ‘Ke-whatta?’
FM: ‘Here.. this word..’ (showing me his text from our friends that requested {Quinoa} for lunch)
Me: ‘Ohhhhh, silly boy. Qin-wah’

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He ate a food that afternoon for lunch he didn’t know how to say.  He followed the lead of anothers request for a quinoa salad and fell in love.   So- after puppy eyeskindly requested that I make something similar for him, I agreed.  He clearly twisted my arm.

Spinach, pungent cheese, sweet dried fruit, and a tart Pink Lady.  YUM.

We ate on this for 4 days.  Lunch was quite colorful, and I didn’t put it in a tortilla.

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Speaking of tortilla.  I grabbed a few items to remake this salad, after yet another request for more to be made.  ‘Put cilantro in it or something..

My Fireman is so creative.  Stay tuned for a Southwestern Quinoa Salad- coming soon:)

Quinoa Salad
with Gruyere, Walnuts, & Dried Fruit Medley
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 large crisp apple, such as Honeycrisp or Pink Lady, diced
3/4 cup walnut halves, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1/4 cup dried tart cherries

1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons red wine vinager
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine quinoa and 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until quinoa is tender but still slightly crunchy, about 15 minutes.
Drain quinoa and return to the pot.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.  Let cool to room temperature.
While quinoa cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.  Add sliced onion and 1/4 teaspoon if salt; cook, stirring frequently until tender and brown around the edges, 6-8 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinager and toss with the onions until the vinager cooks away, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl combine the quinoa, onions, spinach, and the next 7 ingredients (through apricots).  In a small bowl, whisk remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the red wine vinegar and black pepper.  Add the dressing to the salad, tossing gently to combine.
Nutrition Information
Serves: 8 (about 1 1/4 cup each)
Calories: 345
Fat: 16 g
Carbohydrate: 42 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 9g


  1. Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) says:

    It looks so yummy! I must try. Oh, and love that he tried something he couldn't say! My hubby would never do that… So boring!

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