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Fall Quinoa Salad Recipe with apples, cranberries, pecans, sun dried tomatoes and maple basil dressing. | ifoodreal.com

Yesterday I went to my local farmers market and got lots of apples. Today was cooking and photo day for my new eBook – 30 Clean Dinners that comes out on January 5, 2014. Obviously, it was a daycare day for Adam. Amongst total kitchen chaos and my 2 month old broken dishwasher (again), I thought of my neighbours, and all of us of course.

Our American friends celebrate Thanksgiving next week and I thought this fall quinoa salad with apples, cranberries, pecans & maple basil dressing would be perfect for their table. And for the rest of the world (OK, Americans too) it would be great for Christmas celebrations. Just like citrus quinoa salad or butternut squash quinoa salad would go so well with that turkey.

When it comes to cooking quinoa, you don’t have to ask me twice. It is ready in 10 minutes, is full of complete protein and other nutrients, and kids love it!

This quinoa salad with cranberries turned out nutty and crunchy, and of course sweet. And maple basil dressing was incredible! Basil combined with the sweetness of apple, dried cranberries and maple syrup is OMG goooood. We devoured this fall quinoa salad for dinner. I imagine it would pair well with any poultry (baked dijon chicken) or pork (stuffed pork tenderloin). And almost forgot to mention, it is vegan, gluten free, wheat free, GMO free, dairy free. Did I miss anything?:) Enjoy!


Fall Quinoa Salad

Fall Quinoa Salad


    For the Salad:
  • 1 cup quinoa, dry (uncooked)
  • 1/2 large Red Delicious apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained & chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened or sweetened
  • For the Maple Basil Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Cook quinoa al dente. I like firm quinoa for salads, so I undercook it by 3 minutes and use ratio of 1 cup quinoa: 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork. Or you can cook it as per package instructions. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
  2. Add remaining Salad Ingredients to a bowl with quinoa.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together Maple Basil Dressing Ingredients and pour over salad. Mix gently just enough to combine. Serve warm or cold. Pairs well with chicken and pork, or on it's own.
  4. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount Per Serving = 1 cup:
Calories: 246.1
Total Fat: 11.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 168.0 mg
Total Carbs: 32.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 5.0 g
WW Points+: 6

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  1. liz | carpé season

    Loving the flavors in this salad….and so intrigued by throwing sun dried tomatoes in with apples & dried cranberries. But that maple basil dressing? Get. Out. Of. Here. Sounds so good. I’ll have to replace fresh basil with dried because I’m sadly, sadly allergic, but still sounds magical!

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Thanks, Liz. It really was divine!!! That is sooooo sad you are allergic to fresh basil cause dry basil won’t taste the same in this dressing.:( Still will be good but not the same. Maybe try rosemary or sage instead. Any fresh herb. Even cilantro.

  2. Mike @TheIronYou

    Big fan of quinoa over here, I can’t seem to get enough of it. And I’m an even bigger fan of apple+quinoa combo, it just works so well.
    About cooking quinoa…I bought a package of authentic quinoa at a Peruvian grocery in the East Village. You have to wash it and it cooks in about 35 to 40 minutes; which makes me wonder why the one I get at Trader’s Joe takes only 10 minutes. Is it pre-cooked or something? Any clue?

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      I tried to Google the answer to your question and nothing came up. I don’t know. All I can think of if it was pre-cooked, the package would say it. I know TJ has some pre-cooked farro and barley, and the package says that. But quinoa from any store cooks the same – 10 minutes. Have you tried to cook that quinoa for 30 minutes? Was it white quinoa? IMHO, red and black quinoa needs longer cooking time.

  3. Azu

    I love quinoa dishes. I prepared one with dried cranberries, pecans, arugula and gouda, it’s one of my favorites. But this recipe with maple dressing I have to try! Thanx for sharing

  4. shobelyn

    I love Quinoa. In fact I have some variations too. I put eggplant and tomatoes in them. The latest one was with avocado and kernel corn. So delicious.

  5. Joyce

    Just made this. Didn’t have basil and had to substitute but it’s still super yummy. Wasn’t sure how all these flavours would blend but they do!

  6. Jessica

    I just made this recipe for lunch today. I added celery and lentils for more proteins and it was a succes! 🙂 Thank you for the recipe.


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