Lunchbox Worthy, Salads, Vegetarian

Curried Quinoa and Fruit Salad

My restaurant, the Union Street Cafe, offers a popular daily Lunch Buffet.  We serve a delicious hot entree like Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna or Handmade Pizza , a Made-From-Scratch Soup and a lineup of at least five Salads.  On the weekends, we switch to brunch offerings including Fishcakes, Walnut Crusted French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon and Baked Beans and make sure there is fruit in the salad line-up.

Over the years, we’ve gotten many recipe requests for customer favourites!  My policy on recipe sharing is simple: if I’ve got the recipe, I’ll share it.  The problem is, many of these salads are inspired by what’s in the kitchen that day and aren’t written down.  Some glorious inventions have been made once, devoured, and never recorded. We’re working hard to change that by keeping a book of notes right next to the salad bowls.  If something works, I take quick notes on what went into it so it can be re-created.

This is the most recently requested recipe, and it is supremely tasty.  It’s also my sister Meagan’s favourite buffet salad!  The curry powder is cooked right along with the super-healthy quinoa (an infyooosion, as kitchen gals Annette and Alexis call it) and then mixed with other lovely things like pineapple and dried cranberries.  It is a lovely home for local fruit in season and can likely survive any adaptation you can throw at it.  You can bring it to a potluck, serve it as a side dish, or make it into a lovely wrap with chicken and greens tucked inside, like Meagan would do.

This time last year: Pear and Ricotta Upside Down Cake and Sausage Stuffed Squash 

Curried Quinoa and Fruit Salad

If you haven’t cooked with quinoa before, this is a great way to start!

1 C. Quinoa
2 C. Water
1 T. Curry Powder
1 t. Salt
1 stalk Celery, diced
1/4 C. minced Red Onion
1/2 C. minced Red Pepper
1 C. Seedless Grapes, cut in half (if you have all day)
1 C. fresh Pineapple, diced or 1 C. diced Apple
1/4 C. dried Cranberries
1/4 C. Almonds
2 T. Honey
1/3 C. Canola Oil or Mayo
2 T. Lemon Juice

Combine the quinoa, water, curry powder and salt in a small heavy pot.  Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook another twenty minutes.  Turn off the heat and let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  In a large bowl, combine  the celery, red onion, red pepper, grapes, pineapple, cranberries and almonds.  In a small bowl, whisk the honey, oil or mayo, and lemon juice until smooth.  When the quinoa has cooled (you can spread it out on a tray to hurry it along if you like), crumble it into the bowl and add the dressing.  Toss gently to combine, taste, adding a little more lemon or honey if you like, then serve.