Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Lemony quinoa salad with almonds and dried cherries is a wonderful make-ahead summer salad, perfect for backyard and picnic dinners alike. It’s best served at room temperature and packs well, which always makes things easy, plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan. The leftovers taste wonderful over a bed of lightly dressed mixed greens or spinach, and I’ll bet you will have no trouble finding plenty of convenient times to snack on this throughout the week if you want to be bold and make a double batch!

With the parks in our city reopening in the past week, it feels like a piece of summer has been restored! Consistently warm (hot even!) weather, coupled with a need to be outside, has changed things up in a good way around here. We’ve been taking picnic breakfasts, lunches and dinners to all sorts of parks around town, and even up into the foothills. As much as I love the usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich, there are times when that standard just doesn’t cut it. That’s where this lemony quinoa salad with almonds and dried cherries comes in. It’s filling and full of protein with almonds and quinoa, plus it gives off a summery vibe with the dried cherries and bright, lemony dressing. If quinoa isn’t your favorite, it’s also delicious with orzo or couscous. 

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries (Inspired by Weeknight by Williams-Sonoma) – serves 4

Ingredients:
2 lemons
4 T. olive oil
small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ t. ground cumin
¾ t. ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 cups water (can also use chicken broth, but reduce the salt)
1 t. salt
2 cups quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
¼ cup cilantro, minced
½ cup sliced almonds

  1. Toast the almonds in a stainless steel frying pan over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Grate the zest from the two lemons and squeeze the juice from both as well (should be about ¼ cup of juice).
  3. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin and cinnamon and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, dried cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked through. 
  4. Pour cooked quinoa into large bowl and fluff with a fork, while gently stirring in the cilantro and toasted almonds. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve warm or refrigerate until 1 hour before you plan to eat.
plated lemony almond and dried cherry quinoa
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5 from 1 vote

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries

Easy, make-ahead summer salad perfect for picnics and backyard dinners alike. Toasted almonds, dried cherries & lemon zest pair with cumin & cinnamon. So delicious!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: gluten free salad, picnic salad, quinoa salad, summer salad, vegan salad
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • small yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried cherries chopped
  • 3 cups water (or sub. chicken broth but reduce salt)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups quinoa rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
  • 1/4 cup cilantro minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Toast the almonds in a stainless steel frying pan over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
  • Grate the zest from the two lemons and squeeze the juice from both as well (should be about ¼ cup of juice).
  • Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin and cinnamon and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, dried cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is cooked through. 
  • Pour cooked quinoa into large bowl and fluff with a fork, while gently stirring in the cilantro and toasted almonds. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve warm or refrigerate until 1 hour before you plan to eat.

Notes

Recipe inspired by Weeknight by Williams-Sonoma


1 thought on “Lemony Quinoa Salad with Almonds & Dried Cherries”

  • 5 stars
    This is most delicious. The pairing of sweet and savory is perfect. I could eat this three times a day.

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