Kind of like a Waldorf salad that is delicious for lunch or a meatless main dish for dinner. This salad keeps for a day or more!
In a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water, rubbing it between your fingers for about 10 seconds. Drain and transfer it to a 3-quart pot. Add 2 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. seal salt and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered until the quinoa is tender but still delicately crunchy, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain the quinoa and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.
While the quinoa cooks, heat 2 T. of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook stirring frequently until tender and brown around the edges, 6-8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apple. walnuts, fennel and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 T. olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as desired. Add more olive oil if the salad seems dry. Serves 10 as a side dish.
1 1/2 cups red quinoa
5 T. olive oil
1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 T. good balsamic vinegar
4 oz. fresh arugula, about 3 cups
4 oz. aged Gouda, diced (about 1 cup)
3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 large crisp apple cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup diced fennel
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3 T. sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper