November Quinoa: Golden Raisins, Red Delicious Apples, Parsley, and Spices

There is something remarkably comforting about the smell of quinoa cooking on the stove. The nutty aroma evokes sighs and smiles, and I am all the more pleased when I consider how this ‘comfort’ food is also one of the very best things that you can put in your body. Quinoa is a satisfying, flavorful, and filling complete protein with anti-inflammatory benefits, meaning it is probably the perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal. Treat yourself to this quinoa salad for a quick lunch, a supper side, a guilt-free Thanksgiving vegetable dish, or served over half a roasted squash. I added a dollop of pesto one night, as quinoa and pesto marry very well, and it was the perfect combination of nutty flavors.

Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa, 1 Red Delicious Apple cored and chopped, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons golden raisins, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 shallot minced, 1 garlic clove minced, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped basil, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

Recipe: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa, give it a stir, reduce to a simmer, and cover. After ten minutes, add the raisins and continue to cook with the cover on. Simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and allow to cool. 

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the apple, shallot, parsley, and basil to the quinoa and toss gently. If you are looking for added warmth and spice, add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Then add the dressing and toss gently again. 

The quinoa will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days with the dressing. If not dressed, it may stay for a few days longer. 

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