Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Lentils, and Pecans
3.80 from 5 votes

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Lentils, and Pecans | The Full Helping

Thank you so very much for your responses to my New Year’s post. I hope that 2014 is a good year for everyone so far.

Perhaps it’s not quite forward-looking to make my first recipe of 2014 a dish I ate on Christmas day of 2013, but this last-minute quinoa salad was so tasty and easy that I have to share it with you all. It features quinoa, pecans, dried cranberries, dried apricots, lentils, parsley, and a little lemon juice. If your family members or friends are skeptical about quinoa, I guarantee that this dish will help to win them over!

I wish I’d gotten more photos, because it was really a beautiful grain salad, but I didn’t have my camera on me. Hopefully the recipe itself will suggest how colorful and varied in texture the dish is.

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Lentils, and Pecans | The Full Helping

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Lentils, and Pecans | The Full Helping
3.80 from 5 votes

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Lentils, and Pecans

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa dry
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cooked brown or green lentils
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots chopped
  • 1 cup pecans chopped if desired, or left whole for a nice presentation
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parsley chopped


  • Rinse the quinoa through a sieve until the water runs clear. Place it in a medium sized pot, along with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid (about 15 minutes). Fluff the quinoa with a fork, re-cover, and allow the quinoa to steam for 10 minutes.
  • Combine the quinoa with all remaining ingredients and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Serve.


Leftovers will keep for up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Quinoa Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Lentils, and Pecans | The Full Helping

And there you have it: an easy, nutritious, and crowd-friendly dish without any fuss. I’ve historically tried some very ambitious things on Christmas (raw lasagna, shepherd’s pie, a beet and cashew cheese tart, etc.). This year I just didn’t have the inspiration to make something so ornate, but I can’t say that my contribution to the meal was any worse off. My dinner mates loved the dish, and a few of them went back for seconds. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

Before I go, I want to remind my readers that I am once again offering nutrition counseling services. I’ve been working with clients since early December, and I’m loving every moment. It feels wonderful to help folks find balance, free themselves from regimentation or dogma, make more nourishing food choices, and–most important–be compassionate to themselves in the realm of food. I’ve missed this kind of interpersonal work more than I can say, and I feel so lucky for the chance to practice it again.

It’s January, which means you’ll be bombarded with quite a lot of dieting and fitness “noise.” If you’d like to find a renewed commitment to health and wellness that doesn’t involve black-or-white thinking, extreme measures, or alarmism, but does involve common sense, an evidence based perspective, compassion, and joy, please feel free to email me at gena@thefullhelping.com. I’d love to share my rates, tell you more about how I work, and help you to decide if my services are right for you.

Stay warm out there, friends, and I’ll see you soon.

Images courtesy of Lighter.

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Categories: Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes, Meal Sized Salads
Method: Stovetop
Ingredients: Lentils, Quinoa
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Holidays

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  1. I’m planning on making a version of this for dinner tonight with some warm chunks of sweet potato, and twisting up the dressing a little bit.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Not that it needs any fussiness, love it already, but we have two butternut squash upstate from our neighbor’s garden. I bet I could stuff this into them for a dinner party!

  3. ornate or not, this really does look christmassy 🙂 also, i’m glad to see you are back into counseling! i think you have a wealth of info that so many people would benefit from hearing! i might be passing your info on to a friend of mine soon!

  4. Yum, I love nuts and dried fruit in quinoa dishes. It’s the perfect combination of textures and flavors. I find it so weird that anyone would be skeptical of quinoa. I feel like it’s such a common food now. Plus, what’s not to love?! This looks great. Simple dishes always get my vote.

  5. Pecans and apricots sounds like a delicious idea! I often find that you don’t need extremely fussy meals to please a crowd. Often it’s just simple combinations made with joy rather than stress that are most appetizing.