Almond Apple Quinoa Salad is a fresh, healthy side dish. It's fast enough for a weeknight and perfect as a make-ahead dish for a holiday meal. You will love how the sweet and salty flavours combine in this salad!
1/2cupblanched almond slicesor sub whole almonds, see note 1
1tablespoontamarior sub soy sauce if not gluten free
For the salad
2stalkscelery, slicedabout a cup
1large apple, cored and small dice
1/4cupsliced green onionwhite and light green parts only
1/4cupchopped fresh herbs (parsley or basil)optional
For the orange vinaigrette
1/4cupfreshly squeezed orange juice
3tablespoonsapple cider vinegar
1teaspoon honeyomit or use agave syrup for vegan
1teaspoonsea saltor to taste
freshly ground black pepperto taste
Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water (2:1 ratio, use the same measure). Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it steam for 10 minutes with the lid on. After steaming, remove the lid and fluff with a fork, then leave it uncovered to cool.
While the quinoa is cooking, toss the sliced almonds and pepitas with the tamari, cumin and paprika (do this right on the sheet pan), then spread them in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and turning golden brown. Once baked, set them aside to cool and crisp up, while you prepare other parts of the salad.
In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, almonds, pepitas, celery, apple, dried cranberries, green onion and herbs. Drizzle with the orange vinaigrette and mix until well combined and all parts of the salad are evenly coated. Serve immediately, or if you have time, you can let the salad sit for 20-30 minutes to let the flavours blend even more. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days.
If you have whole almonds rather than almond slices, I recommend baking for at least 10 minutes, rather than 5-7 minutes.