Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, and Dried Cranberries

By • June 20, 2012 • 33 Comments

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Author Notes: While pregnant with my little girl, I was on a quest to find a great quinoa salad; after much tinkering, I came up with this. I love this salad because I usually have every ingredient on hand. If I don't have hazelnuts, I add almonds instead. No apples? Pears! No cranberries? Raisins! It's a fairly forgiving and flexible recipe.darksideofthespoon

Food52 Review: WHO: Darksideofthespoon is a an ex-pastry chef married to a chef -- needless to say, her family is well-fed. They live in snowy Canada.
WHAT: Autumn's nutty, herby answer to quinoa salad.
HOW: Cook your onion and celery until just-soft, then toss with your quinoa, cranberries, apple, lemon, hazelnut oil, and toasted hazelnuts.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love how thoughtful darksideofthespoon's quinoa salad is: from the just-cooking-through of the onion and celery, to the skinning of the hazelnuts, to the hazelnut oil finish. This might be the perfect brown bag lunch -- or side dish at an elegant autumn dinner party.
The Editors

Serves 4

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cups water, for quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, de-skinned and chopped
  • 1 bunch (about 5 to 6) green onions, chopped (green parts only)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped * see note
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, thoroughly rinsed and chopped
  • 1 gala apple (really, any kind of apple will do)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • Generous drizzle of any kind of oil (I like hazelnut)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 325F and toast your hazelnuts for about 7-10 minutes. Let them cool completely. You should begin to hear their skins crackle while cooling; this is a good sign!
  2. Meanwhile, cook your quinoa. Importantly, rinse it well! Boil the water with a pinch of salt, and add your rinsed quinoa. Turn your stove down to medium-low and let it cook for roughly 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork, and let it cool in the fridge.
  3. Going back to the cooled, toasted hazelnuts; remove the skins. Chop the hazelnuts up, leaving them in large pieces.
  4. Preheat a skillet with 1 tbsp of oil and soften your finely chopped onion and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Try not to brown them, 5 to 7 minutes on medium - low heat should do the trick. Set aside in a large salad bowl.
  5. Rinse your parsley well and chop it finely followed by your dried cranberries and green onions. Add all this to the onion and celery mixture.
  6. Core and dice the apple, put your apple chunks in the bowl with the other ingredients. Squeeze the entire lemon over the apple to season the salad and prevent the apple from turning brown.
  7. Add your quinoa and hazelnuts to the mixture, drizzle with the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Season with more lemon juice if you like.
  8. Mix well and cool completely. Allow the flavors to meld for 20 minutes before serving!
  9. *I recommend using good quality dried cranberries. Craisins work but they tend to turn the salad a pinkish hue after a few hours, and I find they're too sweet.
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Topics: Weeknight Cooking

Comments (33) Questions (0)


4 months ago Trine Midtun

Looks delicious, fresh and healthy! Sadly quinoa is one of the most excpensive things to buy up here in Norway. And you always find them in very small portions in the supermarked.


4 months ago Rebecca Cherry

i agree with Somia - a very forgiving recipe. in fact, I made it as a warm entree pilaf. Putting in the dried cranberries, raw apples, and parsley last, cooking quinoa in veggie broth, replacing hazelnuts with toasted pecans, adding roasted roots vegetables (parsnips, radishes, carrots, cipollini onion tossed w/olive oil, s&p, fresh sage & thyme). worked out real nice. thanks for the idea, dark side!


6 months ago Somia

I am so glad I went ahead and tried this even though I did not have cranberries, parsley or green onions. This recipe is very forgiving! I used dried herbs and tart dried cherries in place of those missing ingredients. Very tasty.


6 months ago MaryPat

Aside from the added sugar, what is difference between Craisins and dried Cranberries? Can't find the latter anywhere.


9 months ago koc

Delicious! I didn't have hazelnuts/hazelnut oil so I used roasted almonds and olive oil and it was still fantastic. Can't wait to try it again with hazelnuts. Thanks!


10 months ago Butterfield Beef & Berry Farm

loved this just wish that hazelnuts weren't such a project because I love them so.


11 months ago Jenny Ly

I made this and my entire family absolutely adored it, used sesame oil, added fried onion bits, honey, and corn sooo good thank you!!


12 months ago cheapchef

Oh wow this looks amazing, I love dried cranberries!
The Cheap Chef


about 1 year ago omegatop

This entire salad (2.53 lbs or 40.48 oz) comes in at 2107 calories, if you use only two tablespoons of hazelnut oil. A 4 ounce serving is 208 calories.


about 1 year ago Ned Semoff

So delicious! It taste even better then next day. Every ingredient counts and adds its own unique taste to the salad.


about 1 year ago Brooks Pennington

Thanks for this. How long does it keep in refrigerator?


about 1 year ago Alison Morris

Just made this for much week's supply of healthy lunches, but used dates instead of cranberry and curly parsley to get that bitter edge. Absolutely delicious.


about 1 year ago Joan M

do you have full nutritional values for this anywhere?


over 1 year ago ghainskom

First time having quinoa for me and this is the recipe I chose for that. No regrets. It's a keeper!


over 1 year ago EmilyC

Made this over the weekend and loved it! Great recipe!


over 1 year ago KitchenKim

Instead of using cranberries, I swap it with roasted butternut squash and eliminate the celery.


over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon



over 1 year ago Maureen


Made this last night. WOW! Best quinoa recipe ever. I had to restrain myself from having a third helping! Love, love, love it.


over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

That's awesome! At least it's healthy, third helpings are encouraged. Hehe.


over 1 year ago khollander

Wow, I made this salad -- the ingredients are a perfect balance of crunch and nuttiness with a touch of sweetness and it looks great on a plate.


over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

Thank you!


over 1 year ago ljhutchins

I made this over the weekend for a party and brought the left overs home. It is so good, I am debating making another batch tonight just to have on hand for an easy lunch or dinner for the week.


over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

I make huge batches when I know I'm going to have a busy week. It's easy for my toddler to eat, too. Really happy to know you like it!


over 1 year ago Aunt Di

Will definitely be making this one!!!


over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

Let me know if you do! :)