Recipe: Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Thanksgiving: a day for celebrating family, reflecting on gratitude, and… eating food. I’ll be honest, the holidays are unchartered territory for my healthy and fit lifestyle. But, as with all other aspects of this journey, I choose to be empowered by challenge. Here’s my three-part plan for the feast of all feasts:
  1. COOK! So-long bottle of wine, this year I’m bringing my new-found love for creating delicious, healthy recipes to the table. Contributing my kitchen skills both guarantees a dish will be served that aligns with my lifestyle (hello, control!) and, most importantly, it gives me the opportunity to bond with my family in a new way through sharing something I’m passionate about.
  2. Portions on Point. It’s all about balance, baby. I’m loving this guide to the perfect Thanksgiving plate from ToneItUp.com!
  3. Relax & Enjoy. I’ll be happiest knowing I made the best choices for me! Not to mention, I’m looking forward to the added ab workout with some major belly-laughs 😉
This Cranberry Quinoa Salad (inspired by several Pinterest searches) is packed with fall-flavor-favorites and robust ingredients that make for a filling and satisfying side. Plus, it’s totally #tiuapproved with an optional Craving Compromise* (I’m opting in).
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Ingredients:
2 Bags Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch blend (or mix trimmed and chopped brussels sprouts with your favorite kale)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dry quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
2/3 cup pecans (toasted)
2 oz. Goat Cheese *optional Craving Compromise
Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute to taste (or your favorite zero sodium seasoning blend)
cranberry-quinoa-salad
Instructions
Pecans: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Evenly spread pecans on baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully!
Quinoa: Rinse 1 cup of quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. (Check out this awesome guide to cooking quinoa here!) In a saucepan, combine rinsed quinoa with 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add in your favorite zero sodium seasoning to taste, fluff with a fork, and let cool.
Salad: In a large bowl, combine greens, cooled quinoa, toasted pecans, and dried cranberries. Top with goat cheese* and toss thoroughly.
Fill your plate and serve with your favorite dressing! I recommend an orange vinaigrette or pomegranate-balsamic vinaigrette.
*Blog on Craving Compromises coming soon!

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