Turkey gets the spotlight on Thanksgiving, but let’s be serious — the side dishes are where it’s at. From sweet potato casserole (with a giant dollop of marshmallows) to roasted brussels sprouts to herb stuffing to fresh cranberry sauce to pumpkin pie (pumpkin is a vegetable, so it definitely counts as a dinner side dish, right?), Thanksgiving is a side-dish dream.
For Don Opici and his family, sides rule Thanksgiving. Don is all about simplicity, so he likes plain quinoa with his turkey leg. The rest of his family enjoys a more festive spin on quinoa: a cranberry apple quinoa salad. With an orange vinaigrette, dried cranberries, and granny smith apples, this salad is a perfect combination of sweet and tangy, balanced by the “nutty” quinoa taste.
Don’s family likes to sip on sauvignon blanc while munching this salad. Don recommends Totara Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough New Zealand, as its bright citrus, granny smith apple and gooseberry work wonderfully with the tasty orange vinaigrette.
Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad
- 1 Cup Pre-rinsed white quinoa (such as Ancient Harvest)
- 1 Granny Smith Apple
- 1 Bag of dried cranberries
- 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 5 Tablespoons of Orange Juice (Fresh Squeezed is recommended)
- 1/4 teaspoon of Sugar
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. (Typically you will boil 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, reduce to simmer — keep covered — for 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.)
While the quinoa is cooking, peel and dice the apple.
For the dressing, whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, sugar, salt and pepper (to taste) in a separate bowl.
Once the quinoa is done cooking, mix in dried cranberries and apple. Then stir in dressing. Add more orange juice to taste if needed. Put salad into refrigerator for at least an hour to chill before serving.
Optional: Toss in some chickpeas for extra protein (especially if you have vegetarians guests, who need a heartier salad) or some sliced almonds for extra crunch.
Wine Pairing Recommendation: