Try a winter quinoa salad to help recover from holiday indulgence

·3 min read

I’m recovering from my COVID Christmas-cookie-craze. That's a fun way to say I baked and ate too many Christmas cookies.

So this month I need to shock my body back into some semblance of healthiness. I hesitate to use the word healthiness because some of you won’t read any further. But don't let that term fool you — not everything that is healthy is tasteless, and this recipe will prove it, hands down.

This is no foo-foo, sissy salad. This salad will stick to your ribs and help you on your journey to get those extra holiday pounds off. It's colorful, full of fiber and oh, so tasty.

This salad is fun to “build.” The base is made with nutty grainy quinoa. Quinoa has many nutrients including protein and fiber. You could also use barley, couscous, or brown rice as the bed of your salad.

And for dessert: Try apple cake in a Bundt pan for a dessert that's fit for a king

More Melinda: Got veggies? Try some gazpacho

Build your salad starting with the quinoa, blended with toasted pistachios, cilantro and pomegranate dressing. Then top it with some salty feta, some tangy pomegranate seeds, bell pepper, onion and avocado.

We are talking about a powerhouse of nourishment here that is going to tantalize your taste buds. The sweet, salty, tangy, nutty and spice all come together as one complete meal.

Melinda Malott of Williamsport is a self-taught baker and cook. Follow her on Instagram @Melindaluvs2bake.

Build your salad with a base of nutritious quinoa
Build your salad with a base of nutritious quinoa
This colorful salad is packed with nutrients and will aid in dropping those extra holiday pounds.
This colorful salad is packed with nutrients and will aid in dropping those extra holiday pounds.
This colorful salad is packed with nutrients and will aid in dropping those extra holiday pounds.
This colorful salad is packed with nutrients and will aid in dropping those extra holiday pounds.
Top your salad with salty feta, some tangy pomegranate seeds, bell pepper, onion and avocado.
Top your salad with salty feta, some tangy pomegranate seeds, bell pepper, onion and avocado.

Colorful Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa (red or white or both)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons of tart cherry or pomegranate juice.

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped coarse

3 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3/4 cup)

6 scallions, green and white parts sliced thin

1/2 cup avocado cubed

1/3 cup yellow or orange bell pepper chopped

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Olive oil for drizzle

Instructions:

1. Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add 1 cup quinoa that has been well rinsed. Put a tight fitting lid on the pot and simmer for about 12 minutes on medium to low heat. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Let sit for an additional 15 minutes with the lid on.

2. In the meantime, roast the shelled, chopped pistachios in a 400-degree oven for 4-5 minutes. Watch them; they can burn easily. Don't skip this step. Toasting the pistachios gives them an even nuttier flavor.

3. Whisk oil, pomegranate juice, cinnamon, cumin, honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. Add quinoa, raisins, cilantro and pistachios and gently toss to combine. Spread quinoa mixture evenly on a serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, avocado, bell pepper and pomegranate seeds in separate diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra oil and serve. Best warm or room temperature.

Serves 4

Note: Any of the salad ingredients can be increased or decreased to your liking.

Optional: I bought bottled pomegranate juice and brought it to a boil and simmered it to reduce it. This creates a more vibrant flavor for the dressing.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Try a winter quinoa salad to help recover from holiday indulgence