Of all the items on our meal plan this week, it was this salad that garnered the most interest. There were requests for recipes via email and in the comments, and I'm happy to oblige.
It's nothing more than a simple pairing of whole grains, crisp apple, toasted walnuts, crunchy celery and aged cheddar. Then it's lightly enhanced with a maple vinaigrette.
It's a perfect meal on it's own, or paired with some roasted chicken or bruschetta. The quinoa can be made in advance which is a great time saver. I like to make mine in the morning before work, while I'm putting together breakfast, and then I only have to add in a few things when I get home.
And for those who are wondering if my kids really eat this, they honestly do. I wouldn't say it ranks in their top five favourite foods, but they eat it despite Jack's aversion to nuts and Ben's dislike for cheese (unless it's melted of course). Oh, and they both "can't stand" salad dressing, but the maple one here made the cut this week.
Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Aged Cheddar
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 apple, cored and diced (used a crunchy variety)
- 3 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced on a bias
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (toasting is optional)
- 2/3 cup aged cheddar cheese, diced
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the quinoa, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and fluff with a fork. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a small bowl whisk together the cider vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while continuously whisking. Set aside.
If toasting the walnuts, place them in a skillet set over medium high heat and cook for 5-10 minutes or until fragrant. Shake the pan around a few times to toast all sides.
In a large bowl combine the quinoa, apples, celery, walnuts and cheese. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss to stir everything together. Season with salt and pepper and serve.