Pear Quinoa Salad

About 35 servings

High-protein quinoa, which resembles bulgur wheat or couscous in texture, makes a lower-carb base for this side dish salad. Pears and cranberries add sweetness, and feta cheese, garlic and onions some savory notes, while walnuts contribute a nutty texture.


3¼ lb. quinoa
1 (#10) can Pacific Northwest diced pears
1½ lb. dried cranberries
6¼ tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. diced yellow onions
5 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tbsp. vegetable base
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
18 oz. Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1½ lb. walnuts, toasted and chopped
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
8 oz. crumbled feta cheese


1. Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Drain pears, reserving liquid. Measure out 1½ cups liquid and add dried cranberries to plump; set aside. To remaining pear liquid, add enough water to measure 3 1/8 qt.; set aside.

2. In 5-qt. saucepan, heat oil over med. heat. Add onions; cook until translucent. Add garlic; cook 1 min.

3. Add quinoa and toast the grains until fragrant and lightly browned. Stir in reserved diluted pear liquid and vegetable base until well combined. Add salt and pepper.

4. Reduce heat to a slow simmer; cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat and cool completely.

5. Gently stir romaine, walnuts, drained cranberries, diced pears, balsamic vinegar and feta cheese into cooled quinoa. Toss to coat evenly; chill until serving time.

Recipe by Nanette Taho, dietetic technician, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, Arizona.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest Canned Pear Service  

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