Moroccan Salad with Quinoa

IMG_4999We used to have a flat-weave picnic basket.  It was lined in green tartan, and had a place for everything that a family might need for a great lunch.  Today we tend to pack lunches into coolers or backpacks, with lots of ice or freezer paks.  Somehow our unchilled lunches of yesteryear never made us sick.  We would have a stack of sandwiches, maybe a salad or two, some pickles, and cookies and fruit for dessert.  A bottle of lemonade would be enough for us all.  No pop tins, fancy fruit juices, or iced teas.  How did we ever survive?

There is always time for a picnic.  Don’t go overboard thinking it out, just make some things that make you happy, and get outside!  Even if you just toddle down to the local park.

This salad would be an amazing picnic salad.  Salads are great when they can be used as a main dish as well.  This colourful salad, full of fragrant spices lasts well in the fridge, and works well as a side dish for dinner, or as a main course salad, for lunches or a light supper. It’s packed full of nutrition, and is pretty as well!

Click here for printable version.

Makes 10 – 12 servings 


2 c quinoa


IMG_49814 c water

1 t salt

1 medium red onion

1 lemon

1 c dried cranberries

1 c golden raisins

1 red or orange pepper

¾ c green cocktail olives, pitted

1 T fresh oreganoIMG_4985


¼ c red wine vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ t cinnamon

½ t smoked paprika

½ t ground ginger

¼ t cayenne

2 t kosher salt

¼ t ground black pepper

½ c olive oilIMG_4994


In a medium saucepan, mix the quinoa with the water and salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Take off heat, uncover and stir.

Let sit uncovered for 5 – 10 minutes.

Fluff with a fork.

Put the quinoa into a large bowl and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.IMG_4986

While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the fruits, vegetables, and dressing.

Peel and cut the onion in half lengthwise (root to stem).  Slice very thinly.

Put the onion in a non-reactive bowl, loosing the pieces of onion as you go.

Zest and juice the lemon. Top the onion with the zest, and pour the lemon juice all over.IMG_4989

Toss with you fingers.  The lemon juice will pickle the onion, taking out the harshness while softening it somewhat.IMG_4990


Into a bowl, measure the raisins and cranberries.

Cut the pepper into long thin strips. IMG_4987Crosscut once through the center to shorten them.

Add to the raisins and cranberries.

Chop the olive; add to the fruits & pepper slices.IMG_4991

Chop the oregano and toss to the fruit mixture.

Toss all well.

In a small bowl, mix all of the dressing ingredients, whisking thoroughly to emulsify.IMG_4996

When the quinoa has cooled, add in the pickled onion and its juices, the raisins, cranberries, pepper slices and olives. Mix well.IMG_4997

Pour the dressing over all, and mix until all of the quinoa has been dressed.

Store covered in the fridge, use within 5 days.

This salad works well with pasta – use 12 oz of farfalle, cooked, drained, rinsed and cooled, tossed with 1 T of olive oil.IMG_4969

Or with rice – just start with 2 cups of uncooked rice, and make the rice as you normally would, ahead of time, so that it’s cooled before using.



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