This quinoa salad is crunchy and festive, brimming with anise-flavored fennel and toasted walnuts. Dried cranberries and orange juice add a touch of sweetness. Do add the orange zest if you can, as it heightens the citrus flavor. Great for everyday, or for enhancing Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday menus. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (see note)
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 medium fennel bulb
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced,or ½ cup chopped baby carrots
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 scallions, green parts only, sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- ¼ cup orange juice, preferably fresh
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, optional
- 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, more or less to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the quinoa with 2¼ cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
- Toast the walnuts over medium heat in a small skillet until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes, shaking the pan often. Set aside.
- Cut the stalks away from the fennel bulb. Save them for another use if you’d like, such as making soup stock. Reserve the delicate leaves. Cut away the stem of the fennel bulb and cut it into narrow strips, 1 to 2 inches long.
- Combine the fennel and its leaves with the cooked and cooled quinoa in a serving container. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together.
- Serve at once, or let stand at room temperature for a bit before serving. This is a salad that can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.
Note: Use regular or red quinoa, or a combination. To add extra flavor, toss in an all-natural vegetable bouillon cube when cooking the quinoa, though this is entirely optional.