Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Arugula is healthy, hearty salad that can be enjoyed all year long. It's adorned with fall flavors, including dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and sharp goat cheese. It also only takes 25 minutes to prepare and cook.
In order for me to fully enjoy a salad, it needs to meet the following criteria: the lettuce must be fresh and crunchy and the salad must be made up of mostly toppings. This Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Arugula achieves both of those goals. The flavors are balanced by the salt and fat in the toasted walnuts and goat cheese, the acidity of the lemon juice, and the tartness of the dried fruit. The arugula is spicy and citrusy, thanks to the lemons and herbs. It acts as a fresh, crunchy vehicle for the warm, flavorful quinoa mixture. For every bite of this salad, you should taste the lemony arugula, crunchy quinoa, sweet dried cranberries, tart goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and pungent shallots. It can be eaten on it's own or as a side!
Not only is this recipe approachable and delicious, but it looks impressive! All of these tasty ingredients look beautiful when plated. Serve this salad on a simple salad plate or serving bowl with some simple wooden salad servers.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa is a healthier gluten-free alternative to rice and other grains. It is rich in protein, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and essential amino acids. A study by Harvard Public School of Health stated that eating a bowl of quinoa daily may reduce the chances of early death risk from cancer, heart disease, respiratory ailments, diabetes, and other chronic diseases by 17%.
- Quinoa - A light texture and mild flavor that blends well with the other flavors in the salad.
- Goat cheese - Adds sharp rich flavor and protein to the salad
- Toasted walnuts - Adds crunch and heartiness
- Dried cranberries - Sweet, tart and have a chewy texture
- Basil and Mint - Add bright herbaceous flavors
- Lemon juice - The acidity balances out the other rich flavors
- Baby arugula - A spicy green rich in Vitamin B5
Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Arugula is something you can make ahead of time and plate whenever you're ready to eat it. Additionally, this salad can be made in a few easy steps:
- Cook the quinoa - on a stovetop or a rice cooker, cook the quinoa until it is has completely absorbed the water, about 10-15 minutes.
- Make the quinoa mixture - Stir the cheese, walnuts, and cranberries into the cooked quinoa.
- Toss the greens - Toss the arugula with lemon juice and herbs.
- Assemble the salad - Top the greens with the quinoa mixture.
This quinoa salad requires just a few kitchen essentials. You need a measuring cup, a pot with a thick bottom or a rice cooker, a salad spinner (optional, but it does make the arugula dry and crisp), a wooden spoon, salad servers or a pair of clean tongs, and a serving bowl.
- Farro - Replace quinoa with farro if you want to make the salad heartier. Farro and quinoa have the same amount of protein, but farro is denser and more fibrous.
- Feta Cheese - Use crumbled feta cheese instead of goat cheese if you prefer a lighter cheese.
- Blue cheese - Use blue cheese instead of ghost cheese if you prefer a sharper and saltier cheese.
- Pumpkin Seeds - Replace walnuts with pumpkin seeds if you still want a crunch but want something lower in fat and more nutritious.
- Vegan - replace goat cheese with a yummy vegan cheese.
- Dressing - Substitute lemon juice for extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, or an apple cider vinaigrette.
- Protein - Add chicken if you want extra protein in your salad.
- Crispy - Pan fry pancetta to add little flavor crystals to the salad.
- Beets - Adds a sweet and earthy flavor to the salad. Beats are packed with vitamins and nutrients.
- Butternut Squash - Add roasted butternut squash for a hearty sweet potato flavor. In order to add roasted butternut squash, simply cube the butternut squash, then bake it on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.
- Apples - Add sliced apples for a nice crunch. The best crunchy apples are honeycrisp and pink lady.
Store the quinoa mixture and arugula separately in the fridge, and recombine when ready to eat. All ingredients are good for 3 days.
For a low maintenance approach, cook the quinoa in a rice cooker. Unlike cooking it on the stove, you don’t have to babysit the quinoa while it cooks and don’t have to worry about the quinoa burning in the rice cooker.
What to Serve with Harvest Salad
If you want to make this Harvest Salad recipe for a Thanksgiving meal, check out these sides recipes: Miso Mashed Potatoes with Miso Butter, Maple Roasted Kabocha, Sautéed Green Beans with Furikake, and Sautéed Mushrooms with White Wine.
Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Arugula
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 oz goat cheese crumbled
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- 3 tablespoon basil chopped
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 7 oz baby arugula
- 3 tablespoon mint chopped
- Cook the quinoa - Place the quinoa and water in a 1.5 quart sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the sauce pan and cook until the quinoa has completely absorbed the water, about 10-15 minutes. Empty the quinoa into a large mixing bowl and fluff with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool.
- Make the quinoa mixture - Once the quinoa reaches room temperature, fold in goat cheese, cranberries, toasted walnuts, basil, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Toss the salad - In a salad bowl or a serving plate, toss baby arugula, mint, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
- Assemble the salad - Top the greens with the quinoa mixture and garnish with herbs and lemon slices.