Curried Quinoa & Pear Salad

This post is going to be quick, since I just cooked and cleaned up for like 3 hours - on a Tuesday. The goal was to make dinner (amazing Vegetarian Corn Chowder), while also cooking something healthy to bring for lunch this week (roast chicken and a quinoa concoction). 

A few weeks ago I played with some red quinoa. It was super easy to make and I enjoyed the pilaf all week. I decided to try classic white quinoa this time, but I find it extremely annoying that you have to rinse it. I tried using a strainer, but the quinoa is so tiny, like sand, that it fell right through. I tried placing a paper towel in the strainer to hold them in, yet it was impossible to unstick them all from the towel. What a mess, little dry quinoa rolling all over the kitchen. 

I decided to go the opposite direction that I took with the red quinoa, and try a cold salad with sweet flavors. You might think it better to wait for summer for a cold meal, but in my office, the line for the one-and-only microwave is a totally out-of-control 15 minute (or longer) wait. I'm pretty sick of that game. So, cold curried salad it is, starring some tart dried cherries and juicy red-skinned Starkrimson pears from Fresh Direct. It's not completely cold yet, but it tastes awesome. You can't find lunch this delicious and healthy in the midtown 30's, that's for sure!

Curried Quinoa & Pear Salad
Approx.  4 servings

¾ C quinoa
1 ½ C water
½ tsp salt
*optional: 6-7 fennel seeds

1 pear, diced (such as the red-skinned Starkrimson)
¼ C dried cranberries
¼ C dried cherries
¼ C almond slices, toasted

1/4 C walnut oil
2 T cider vinegar
4 tsp lemon juice
1 T honey
¼ tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp dried mustard
Pinch of salt (preferably Pink Salt or Sea Salt)

1. Rinse quinoa and place in a saucepan with water, salt and fennel seeds if desired. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer, loosely covered, for about 10 minutes. When water is absorbed, fluff with a spoon and set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare dressing by whisking all ingredients together.

3. In a large bowl, toss quinoa with pear, cranberries, cherries, almond slices and dressing. Serve at room temperature, or cool.

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