Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries & Avocado

Easy Entertaining:  Make-ahead Salad.

Back in May I attended the BlogHer Food conference.  Besides chatting about food non-stop for three days with other food bloggers, a fun part of the event was talking with the sponsors and trying various samples of their products.  Among the many goodies we were given, I took home a bag of organic quinoa from one of the conference sponsors, Bob’s Red Mill.

While I’m familiar with the ancient South American grain and it’s high-protien properties, I had never made quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) before.  I figured a good place to start would be to adapt a recipe of mine I already like, substituting the quinoa for brown rice.  The results were good.

When making the rice version of this salad, I normally cook the rice in chicken broth so the salad has a rich flavor.  But because it’s summer and I wanted a lighter version, I omitted the chicken broth for this vegetarian quinoa version.  The salad is light, refreshing and packed with flavor.  And of course it’s a make-ahead salad, so perfect for entertaining.

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries & Avocado
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Lizzie at corkscrewsandcurls.com
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 32 mins
Serves: 6
A light and refreshing quinoa salad, perfect for summer entertaining.
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons juice from Mandarin orange can
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salad:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (11 oz) can Mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained
  • 1/2 cup diced red, yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a large jar with a tight fitting lid; seal and shake vigorously until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add quinoa, stir and return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until water has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Fluff quinoa with a fork, cover and allow to steam for 15 mintues.
  3. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Add oranges, bell pepper, dried cranberries, scallions, avocado, pecans, and dressing; gently stir until well combined.

Make-ahead Tips: Salad can be made up to a day in advance. If making ahead, add avocado and pecans right before serving.


This salad is equally as good with rice, a brown and wild rice mixture works best.  Either version, with rice or quinoa, works well for entertaining.  The salad can be made a day or two in advance (add the avocado and pecans right before serving) and holds up well on either a buffet table or sunny picnic table.

This entry was posted in Crumbs, Napkins & Notes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: