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.

Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad

It’s summertime and that means salads are plentiful. They’re simple and quick to assemble, yet so many medleys of flavors are possible simply by combining new variations of ingredients with crunch, saltiness, sweetness and spice. While many salads contain 100 percent raw ingredients, cooking some of the vegetables or roasting nuts and beans brings any salad to a whole new level. This salad is all about the mustard and nut notes.

Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 teaspoon paprika
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
> salt and pepper
> 4 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
> 1 small onion, thinly sliced
> 3 tablespoons olive oil
> 1/2 cup walnut pieces, roasted
> 1 cup red quinoa
> 2 cups water
> 2 tablespoons lemon juice
> 7 ounces arugula
> 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
> 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
> 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika, cumin, cinnamon and a dash of salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots and onion and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of spice mix and toss to coat. Spread the vegetable on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and the water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice  and 1 teaspoon mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and toss to coat. Spread the greens on a large platter.

Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon mustard and remaining spice mix. Add quinoa, walnuts, cranberries and roasted vegetables, and toss well. Spoon the quinoa salad on top of the greens.

Makes 4 entree-sized servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Green Bean Heaven Salad

Following the recipes and inspiration of others is the way to go when trying a new dish or combination of flavors, but when you feel like you’ve mastered something, it’s fun to let the creativity run wild. That’s exactly what I did when I was in a salad mood but hadn’t been to the store recently — I opened the fridge and threw a bunch of complimentary flavors and textures together. The result was phenomenal! Feel free to experiment as you please.

Green Bean Heaven Salad

Ingredients:

> 1 cup French green beans, steamed
> 1 cup arugula
> 1/2 cup red quinoa, cooked
> 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
> 1/4 cup slivered almonds, roasted
> 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
> 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
> 1/2 tablespoon honey
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Combine green beans, arugula, quinoa and tomatoes in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar and honey. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss salad ingredients in dressing, and top with slivered almonds.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.