My husband has dubbed my weekly French Fridays with Dorie recipes my “experimental French recipes”. This came about because he didn’t really care for the recipes the first few weeks I participated. They were just not to his taste.
This week’s recipe, Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Salad, definitely falls into the “experimental” category for us. I have only cooked with quinoa once before, and we didn’t love the results. Still, in the spirit of FFwD I decided to give it a try. It sounds good on paper: the quinoa is tossed with a mix of dried fruits, nuts, and herbs and then finished with a lemon-ginger vinaigrette.
I loved the smell of the quinoa after it was done cooking. It reminded me a little bit of peanut butter cookies. I used whatever fruits a nuts I had on hand. For the fruits I used a mix of raisins and dried apricots. The nuts were mostly pine nuts and walnuts, with a few leftover almonds thrown in. For herbs, I used fresh basil, mint and parsley. After tossing all the ingredients together, Dorie suggests letting the salad sit for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. I highly recommend this step! I tasted mine right after adding the lemon-ginger dressing and then again a couple of hours later. The flavor definitely benefited from sitting; the lemon juice flavor was very pronounced when I tasted the salad at first, but had really mellowed by the time we ate dinner.
The recipe claims to make 4 servings. These are very generous main dish servings. If you wish to serve this salad a side dish, as I did, it makes more like 6 servings.
The verdict? Mixed results. I enjoyed the salad a lot. It liked the nutty flavor of the quinoa mixed with the sweet fruity flavors. My 7 year old daughter seemed to like it too and even had seconds. My husband said he liked the flavors, except when there was too much quinoa in the bite. I think he’d have been happy with a “fruit and nut” salad!
This would be a great salad to take to a pot luck or to serve at a shower or luncheon as a light main-course.