It’s Fall Time: Quinoa, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad

With summer behind us and the rainy fall weather here, the days of enjoying strawberries from the basket are replaced with roasting squash and making soups. Salads no longer have peaches and nectarines but rather persimmons and pomegranates. After volunteering at the culinary demo with CUESA, I took home three large, ripe pomegranates that were asking to be eaten right away.

Deseeding pomegranates can be quite a process, but thanks to the market chef at CUESA, Carrie, I learned a new technique. Many of us are familiar with submerging the sliced pomegranate under water to remove the seeds. The new technique — which is also great for getting aggression out — is to whack the outside of the pomegranate with a meat tenderizer or a lemon squeezer, letting the seeds fall into a large bowl.

Once the seeds were ready for my use, I decided to make a salad full of roasted and savory fall flavors. The red quinoa, toasted almonds and pomegranate seeds are the essence of the season, while the refreshing arugula and light lemon dressing are reminders of summer left behind.

Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup red quinoa, uncooked
> 1 cup slivered almonds, unsalted and toasted
> 1 cup pomegranate seeds from one large pomegranate
> 4 cups arugula
> juice from 1 lemon
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to the package. Combine quinoa, almonds, pomegranate seeds and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil atop, and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from PopSugar.

Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Arugula

Chickpeas and quinoa are two of my favorite sources of vegetarian protein, in addition to seeds and nuts. That’s why this salad is the perfect combination of flavor and nutritional content for anyone. It’s light yet refreshing and the red pepper gives it a hint of heat.

Marinated Chickpeas with Quinoa and Arugula

Ingredients:

> Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
> 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
> 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
> coarse salt
> 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
> 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
> 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
> 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
> 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
> 4 cups packed arugula

Instructions:

Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, oil and parsley in a medium bowl. Add chickpeas and season with salt and pepper flakes. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Combine almonds, quinoa, scallions, tomatoes and arugula in a large bowl. Add marinated chickpeas, and toss to combine. Season with salt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Warm Quinoa Salad: A Spinach & Cranberry Twist

Quinoa is a grain that I’ve loved ever since trying it about a year ago. Now, the fluffy round grain has become a staple in my diet — I can’t seem to get enough of the high-protein, gluten-free food that is a great substitute for rice, pasta and bread. Plus it’s much healthier than all those white grains. But when first diving into quinoa land, why make it so daunting to figure out what to eat it with? Pair it with veggies, meat, sauces, practically anything and it’ll taste delicious.

Warm Quinoa Salad Spinach, Cranberry Twist 2

Here’s one rendition of a quinoa salad with a spinach and cranberry twist.

Ingredients:

> 2 cups cooked quinoa
> 3 generous handfuls of spinach
> 4 tablespoons dried cranberries
> extra virgin olive oil
> garlic salt
> ground pepper
> small lemon wedge

Instructions:

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet on low. Add the cooked quinoa and heat through. Add the spinach, and cook until begins to wilt. Season with garlic salt and ground pepper, and stir to mix. Just before serving, add dried cranberries, and squeeze lemon juice over dish.

Makes 2 servings.

Warm Quinoa Salad Spinach, Cranberry Twist