This salad, from the blog Keep It Skinny, was a hit at our Cooking with Apples Party. Part of our themed cooking event, each ingredient really elevated each other, and it was definitely a healthy dish. The gouda made the dish shine, and the quinoa was quite delicious.
When I got to cooking it, I changed a few things. I adding 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice instead of sautéing the red onions in balsamic vinegar. At first, I was sure it was an integral part of the taste profile for this dish, but I didn't want to dirty another pan, so I added the lemon juice instead. My move didn't deter the yumminess of the dish, so I was definitely glad. This result yields for 8-10 servings.
- 1-1/2 cups quinoa, preferably red
- Sea salt
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
- 1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 oz arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 4 oz aged Gouda, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 large, crisp apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup finely diced fennel
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water, rubbing it between your fingers for about 10 seconds. Drain and transfer it to a 3-quart pot. Add 2-1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender but still delicately crunchy, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the quinoa and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.
- While the quinoa cooks, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, walnuts, fennel, and cranberries.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Let rest a moment; then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if the salad seems dry.