Savory Turkey Ham and Quinoa Salad

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I started off intending to make this salad from Leite’s Culinaria (by way of the book The New American Olive Oil), but I worried that it wouldn’t taste the same without the sherry vinegar, so I worked around it. Here’s what I ended up doing:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1/3 cup pistachios toasted (I did it in a small nonstick pan, on low heat, for about 5 minutes) and chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Red onion to taste, finely chopped
Raw baby spinach leaves, slivered (probably a cup)
Dressing made of honey mustard, red wine vinegar and canola oil: 1 T oil, 3 T vinegar, mustard to taste

Add the quinoa to a bowl. Add the cranberries, pistachios, spinach and onion.

In a separate bowl, mix the dressing ingredients; pour into the salad bowl. Mix everything together.

When ready to serve, add more slivered spinach (1/2 to 1 cup) and 1-2 oz. of turkey ham, finely diced. Mix everything together.

You could make this vegetarian by leaving out the turkey ham.

On the quinoa: the original recipe that I remixed called for toasting the quinoa. I never heard of toasting quinoa before–I always thought you had to rinse it first before using it. But I saw in my research that pre-rinsed quinoa is available; perhaps it’s more appropriate to toast that.

The original recipe also included scallions and celery; you could use them instead of, or in addition to, the spinach I went with.

Also, I’ve heard on cooking shows that red onion is a good substitute for shallots, so I went with that instead.

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2 thoughts on “Savory Turkey Ham and Quinoa Salad

    • Good question… I guess the toasting will enhance the nutty flavor it already has? I’ve never tried toasting it, so I’m not sure. But if I ever get the pre-washed couscous, I’ll give it a try.

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