A Fork Full of Apple Cider! Fall Festival Quinoa Salad

It’s time to fall into autumn and enjoy all the delicious flavors of the season. Apple cider is one of those traditional tastes that stirs up my memories of hayrides, harvest celebrations, and snuggling around the hearth with good cheer and laughter.

There are so many ways to enjoy apple cider, other than simply serving it up as a beverage. It’s one of my favorite fall-season ingredients for everything from marinades and soups to baked goods and side dishes. Today, I’m sharing a scrumptious quinoa salad recipe aptly named Fall Festival Quinoa Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. 

This quick and easy salad features quinoa cooked in cider and other signature flavors of fall including dried cranberries, shaved Brussels sprouts and pumpkin seeds. Plus, it’s all tossed with a homemade, “just-whisk-in-the-bowl” apple cider mustard vinaigrette.

Quinoa Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Fall Festival Quinoa Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette is fit and fresh, and makes a great side dish for family dinners or to take to the onslaught of office parties, potlucks and other get-togethers happening this time of year.  The salad can be made ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator for several days, making it a favorite among busy foodies, holiday hosts, and meal preppers.

By adding apple cider straight to the quinoa’s cooking liquid, extra flavor can be infused into this popular whole grain (which is actually a seed) that can be quite bland otherwise. I used Gala Apple Cider from Litehouse Foods because I appreciate how it’s 100-percent cold pressed juice extracted from some of the Northwest’s finest apples. The flavor is sweet yet mellow enough to also let the other ingredients in my quinoa salad shine.

Fall Festival Quinoa Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette Recipe

Serves 6 | Finish in 30 minutes
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Stir up a festival of fall flavors with this crunchy, crave-worthy quinoa salad featuring apple cider, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and more! A fit and fresh accompaniment for both easy weeknight dinners and special holiday celebrations.

Ingredients

For Salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked white Quinoa
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Litehouse Gala Apple Cider
  • 2/3 cup finely sliced Red Onions (could also substitute Litehouse Instantly Fresh Freeze-Dried Red Onions)
  • 1 10-oz package shaved fresh Brussels Sprouts
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

For Dressing:

  • ¼ cup Gala Apple Cider
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp. Litehouse Freeze-Dried Thyme
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp. dried Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

  1. Rinse quinoa under cool water in mesh strainer to remove bitterness.
  2. Pour 1 cup water and 1 cup of apple cider into 2-quart pot. Add rinsed quinoa and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, top pot with lid, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. 
  3. Remove quinoa from heat, fluff with fork, and let cool for about 15 minutes. 
  4. While quinoa cooling, add remaining ¼ cup apple cider, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and red pepper to large bowl and whisk until combined.
  5. Once quinoa has cooled add to this dressing mixture and stir until combined. Next, stir in onion, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and pepitas to bowl and stir until combined.
  6. Enjoy!

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