I love quinoa! Love eating it, love cooking with it, love the amazing nutrition it provides. Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, and has all essential amino acids which makes it a complete plant protein.
This quinoa salad has beautiful color, amazing tangy sweet flavor which blends beautifully with the pepperiness of Arugula.
very simple to make, and definitely easy on the eyes! :)

difficulty level: easy

prep time: 7 minutes

cook time: 30 minutes

equipment needed: a 12" non stick pan with a lid, or a large braiser with a lid

what you need:

for quinoa:

  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped (1 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted sliced olives
  • 6 to 8 cups packed baby arugula. I actually used 9 cups, love arugula! you can substitute with fresh baby spinach for a milder flavor.
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 ripe figs slices or quartered. You can substitute with some dries cranberries if figs are not in season. place 2 tbsp dried cranberries in warm water for 10 minutes, drain and use as directed (below)
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa dry
  • 2.5 cups broth + 3 tbsp broth separately
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 onion powder

For balsamic dressing:

  • 3 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper to preference

what to do:

  • preheat pan/braiser on medium high, add 1/2 tbsp oil and chopped onion, saute onions for 5 minutes, add 2 tbsp broth to deglaze pan, mixing well, reduce heat to medium & saute 2 more minutes, add 1 tbsp broth
  • add dry quinoa, turmeric and onion powder, dry toast quinoa on medium heat for 2 minutes
  • add 2.5 cups broth, mix well, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low, cook covered 20 minutes
  • turn heat off, fluff quinoa with a spatula, then cover pan/braiser with a clean dry kitchen towel, place lid back on, pull on towel edges to tighten, let sit 5 minutes. This step is not necessary, but helps create a beautiful fluffy quinoa, a worthwhile step in my opinion :)
  • mix all balsamic dressing ingredients in a glass or mason jar, whisk briskly until well incorporated.
  • add sliced olives and green onion to the quinoa and mix well.
  • for the arugula you have a few options, i like to mix half the arugula with the warm quinoa, which wilts the arugula, then later add the remaining arugula when the quinoa is cooled. You can add it all and wilt it, or add all of it once quinoa is cooled, up to you :) the wilted arugula will have a milder flavor, but will lose some of that bright green color and the pepperiness.
  • once you have added the arugula, pour the balsamic dressing over the pilaf & mix well
  • add figs or dried cranberries and serve :)

this recipe yields more then 8 cups of delicious refreshing quinoa arugula salad.
The flavors get even better as this sits in the fridge. I love serving this cold, but you can absolutely serve this warm too