This Quinoa Cranberry Salad is full of fresh, feel good flavours that everyone will love! With nutrient rich spinach, sweet dried cranberries and a zippy lemon dressing, it is able to stand alone as a protein packed, healthy meal, or can be served as a side. It's easy to make ahead of time and is naturally gluten free.
1 tablespoon / 15mlmaple syrup , real maple syrup not pancake syrup. Agave can be used as an alternative.
2 tablespoons / 30 mlsextra virgin olive oil(omit to make the recipe oil-free)
½teaspoonfreshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
½teaspoonsalt , plus more to taste
Rinse the quinoa well in a fine sieve. Shake out as much water as you can then gently toast it in a dry pan or in your Instant Pot, over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, keeping it moving, until it starts to smell a little nutty.
If cooking on the stove top, add the water and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until the water has mostly absorbed. Then turn off the heat, cover tightly and leave to steam for at least 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely before continuing with the recipe. If you are in a hurry to cool it, you can spread it out in a thin layer on a cool plate or baking sheet. That will help it cool more quickly. If cooking in an Instant Pot, after toasting, pour in 1 cup of water, put on the lid, seal it, and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes, then leave the pressure to release naturally. Allow to cool completely before continuing with the recipe.
Shred the spinach and stir it through the cooled quinoa. Add the cranberries and stir them through too.
Zest the lemons and add it to a small jar or bowl. Juice the lemons and add the juice to the jar/bowl with the zest. Add the maple syrup, optional olive oil, salt and pepper. Put the lid on and shake it or whisk it together.
Pour over the quinoa mixture and toss well to coat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Store covered in the fridge. Keeps well for 2 to 3 days. You can extend its life by another 3 - 4 days if you make the salad as directed but don't add the spinach. Shred it and add it in just before serving instead. This also works well if the weather is really hot and you are taking it to a pot luck or BBQ. Take the spinach with you and shred it and add it to the dressed quinoa when you arrive, so that the leaves stay nice and fresh and vibrant.