Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for one of my friends who is expecting a baby boy in just a few weeks! The shower was at 11am, so I tried to create a menu that was substantial enough for lunch, but still light since it was earlier. I've been doing brunch so often lately, it was a nice change of pace to not have an egg-heavy menu! I tried to incorporate some of Leah's favorites, and then selfishly made something I knew I'd love.
I literally can't get enough of grain based salads. They're so simple, but such a crowd pleaser. My standard formula is grain, fruit, cheese, nut, vegetable and dressing with fresh herbs. I took a chance with this one as the flavors didn't seem like they'd perfectly match, but this salad was fantastic. The feta's saltiness balanced out the sweet cranberries, the tangy lemon was cut with the bright mint, and the pepitas added crunch. I made a huge batch of this salad, so it might be necessary to halve or third it for a smaller meal, but leftovers aren't a bad thing either!
Quinoa Salad with Cranberries, Feta and Pepitas
Veggie by Season original
1 lb. quinoa
4 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pepitas
8 oz. feta, cubed or crumbled
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar/honey/sweetener of choice
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. fresh minced mint leaves
Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until it runs clear.
Bring stock to a boil in a large pot, add quinoa, turn to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes until quinoa has plumped and 'tails' spring out.
Pour into mesh strainer, drain and cool for 10 minutes, then add to a mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator until thoroughly cooled (can be done a day in advance).
Add cranberries, pepitas, feta and scallions to quinoa, toss.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper and mint to a dish, whisk, taste and season as necessary.
Pour dressing over salad and toss.
Pour into a serving dish, garnish with extra mint and serve chilled.