Healthy Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad (For A Wholesome Feast)

As someone who’s always on the lookout for nutritious and flavorful family meal prep options.

I recently stumbled upon a culinary gem that I can’t wait to share with you, the Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad.

This delightful salad combines the goodness of quinoa, the tanginess of dried cranberries, and the nutty crunch of pecans.

(To create a delectable experience with each bite)

Quinoa, known as the “super grain,” forms the heart of this salad, bringing a wealth of health benefits to the table.

Its high protein content and essential amino acids make it an excellent choice for those seeking a plant-based protein source for their meal prep dish.

Quinoa is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a valuable addition to your healthy meal prep lifestyle.

When I first tasted this salad, the combination of sweet dried cranberries and the earthy flavor of pecans amazed me.

The vibrant colors of fresh cucumbers, red bell peppers, and red onions added a visual appeal that made this dish even more irresistible.

It’s no wonder that this cranberry pecan quinoa salad has quickly become a staple on my Thanksgiving table. 

The salad’s warm and inviting colors, along with its harmonious blend of seasonal flavors, make it a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving feast.

Whether served as a refreshing side dish or a light main course, it brings a burst of autumnal joy to the table.

So, as the holiday season comes closer, let’s embark on a culinary adventure and make this wholesome and satisfying salad part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in meal-prepping, this cranberry pecan quinoa salad is sure to become a favorite in your repertoire.

Let’s dive in and celebrate Thanksgiving with this delicious and nutritious salad!

Essential Ingredients That You’ll need for cranberry pecan quinoa salad

Let’s take a journey into the culinary wonderland of the cranberry pecan quinoa salad – a dish that’s about to rock your taste buds and nourish your soul.

Satisfying Quinoa

Fluffy quinoa on a bowl on top of a gray surface

At the heart of this salad lies the versatile and nutrient-rich quinoa.

Packed with plant-based protein, essential amino acids, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa provides a wholesome base that will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished, perfect even for the ladies who plan to shed some pounds.

Sweet Dried Cranberries

To infuse a burst of tangy sweetness into each delightful bite, you will need to add dried cranberries.

These ruby-red jewels will sweep you off your feet with their sweet and zesty dance moves on your taste buds.

(Talk about a flavor fiesta) 

Crunchy Pecans

Pecans on a wooden spoon on top of a gray colored surface

And as if that wasn’t enough to get your palate dancing, I’m adding pecans to the mix.

These tiny wonders bring an irresistible crunch to this delightful quinoa salad while also delivering a dose of healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients.

(It’s like having a nutrition-packed nutty dance party in your mouth) 

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables such as red bell peppers, onions, and cucumbers on top of a wooden surface

I believe in a balanced and visually appealing salad, and that’s where fresh vegetables come in.

The crispness of cucumbers, the vibrant red of bell peppers, and the mild zing of red onions combine to create a colorful and nutritious ensemble.

With this incredible combination of ingredients.

The cranberry pecan quinoa salad becomes not only a feast for the senses but also a celebration of wholesome goodness on your plate. 

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad

Recipe by TealnotesCourse: SaladsDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

  • 2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

  • 1 cucumber, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped


  • Cook the Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Incorporate the rinsed quinoa into your cooking process and add a small amount of salt.

    Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed.

    Once the quinoa is cooked, use a fork to fluff the grains and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Prepare the Dressing: Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
  • Assemble the Salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, diced cucumber, red bell pepper, and finely chopped red onion.
  • Add the Dressing: Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently until all ingredients are well coated.
  • Chill and Serve: Before serving, cover the salad and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

    Serve chilled and enjoy the delicious goodness of this Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad.

Cook’s Tips

  • For a useful meal prep tip, you can make the salad ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.

    Just remember to add the dressing right before serving to keep the salad fresh and crisp.

This simple and nutritious recipe will be the star of your Thanksgiving table.

Impressing your guests with its enticing combination of flavors and its healthful goodness.

It’s a breeze to prepare, leaving you with more time to enjoy the holiday festivities.

Flavorful Variations Suggestion to ELevate your cranberry pecan quinoa salad

One of the best things about this cranberry pecan quinoa salad is its versatility.

You can customize the dish easily to cater to your personal preferences and dietary needs.

Here are some delightful variations to make this salad even more exciting:

  • Protein Power: For a heartier and more substantial meal, consider adding protein options like grilled chicken or tofu.

    The grilled chicken brings a savory and satisfying element, while tofu provides a delicious plant-based alternative.

    Simply grill or cook your protein of choice separately, then toss it into the salad for a high-protein boost to your meal prep masterpiece.
  • Fruitful Twists: Get creative with different fruits to create exciting flavor combinations.

    Try adding fresh diced apples for a sweet and crisp touch, or toss in some juicy pomegranate seeds for a burst of color and tanginess.

    You can even experiment with sliced strawberries or ripe avocado for a refreshing twist.
  • Nutty Delights: While pecans bring a delightful nutty flavor, you can venture beyond and explore other nuts too.

    Walnuts, almonds, or pistachios can add their unique taste and texture to the salad.

    Just toast the nuts lightly for an extra layer of crunch and depth. That will surely impress even your picky eater kids.
  • Dietary Friendly: This salad easily adapts to various dietary preferences.

    To make it vegan, ensure that all ingredients, including the dressing, are plant-based.

    For a gluten-free option, a valuable grocery tip I can give is to always ensure the quinoa that you are buying is labeled gluten-free.

    And double-check any added ingredients for potential gluten-containing elements.

Remember, this cranberry pecan quinoa salad is your canvas, and you’re the artist.

Feel free to mix and match ingredients to create a salad that perfectly suits your palate and dietary preferences.

This versatility makes it a go-to recipe all year round.

Whether it’s for a special occasion like Thanksgiving or a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner for the whole family

As you reach the end of this culinary journey, it’s evident that the cranberry pecan quinoa salad has triumphed as a delightful and healthy Thanksgiving dish.

With its harmonious blend of quinoa, tangy dried cranberries, and nutty pecans, this salad presents a symphony of flavors and textures that truly dazzle the taste buds.

Beyond its delectable taste, this salad also boasts an impressive array of health benefits.

Quinoa, the star of the show, provides a plant-based protein source that fuels the body with essential amino acids and nutrients.

While the addition of fresh vegetables brings a burst of vitamins and minerals, elevating this dish from just a salad to a nutrient-rich powerhouse.

What makes this cranberry pecan quinoa salad truly special is its versatility.

By exploring various customization options, you can create a salad that suits your individual tastes and dietary preferences.

From adding grilled chicken or tofu for extra protein to experimenting with different fruits and nuts for exciting flavor combinations, the possibilities are endless.

As you gather around the Thanksgiving table, this mouthwatering quinoa salad is bound to impress your guests with its inviting colors and wholesome goodness.

It’s a delightful celebration of seasonal flavors. (that will definitely bring joy to every occasion)

So, let this cranberry pecan quinoa salad take center stage at your Thanksgiving feast and beyond.

Let its charm and healthful allure become a part of your culinary traditions.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, preparing this salad is an effortless triumph that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and heart.

Enjoy this salad’s vibrant and delicious journey, and let it become a delightful tradition on your table.

Happy cooking, and happy eating!

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Should you soak quinoa before eating?

While soaking quinoa is not necessary, it can be beneficial. 

Soaking helps to remove the natural coating called saponin, which can cause a bitter taste. 

If you choose to soak quinoa, rinse it thoroughly under cold water, then soak it in water for about 15 minutes. After soaking, rinse it again before cooking.

How do you get the bitter taste out of cooked quinoa?

To remove the bitter taste from cooked quinoa, make sure to rinse it thoroughly before cooking. 

Properly rinsing the quinoa helps to wash away the saponin, which is the compound responsible for the bitterness. 

Also, cooking quinoa with a bit of salt and in vegetable or chicken broth instead of water can enhance its flavor and reduce any lingering bitterness.

How do I make quinoa taste good?

Making quinoa taste good is all about adding complementary flavors and textures. Here are some tips:

  • Cook quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth instead of water for added flavor.

  • Add herbs and spices like garlic, thyme, or cumin to infuse it with delicious aromas.

  • Incorporate dried fruits, like cranberries or apricots, for a touch of sweetness.

  • Toast quinoa lightly in a dry pan before cooking to bring out a nutty flavor.

  • Mix quinoa with colorful vegetables, roasted nuts, and a zesty dressing to create a vibrant and tasty salad.

With these simple tricks, you can turn quinoa into a delightful and versatile base for a variety of dishes.


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