Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, and Dried Cranberries Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Make Ahead

by: darksideofthespoon



26 Ratings

  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

While pregnant with my little girl, I was on a quest to find a great quinoa salad; after much tinkering, I came up with this. I love this salad because I usually have every ingredient on hand. If I don't have hazelnuts, I add almonds instead. No apples? Pears! No cranberries? Raisins! It's a fairly forgiving and flexible recipe. I recommend using good quality dried cranberries. Craisins work but they tend to turn the salad a pinkish hue after a few hours, and I find they're too sweet. —darksideofthespoon

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Darksideofthespoon is a an ex-pastry chef married to a chef -- needless to say, her family is well-fed. They live in snowy Canada.
WHAT: Autumn's nutty, herby answer to quinoa salad.
HOW: Cook your onion and celery until just-soft, then toss with your quinoa, cranberries, apple, lemon, hazelnut oil, and toasted hazelnuts.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love how thoughtful darksideofthespoon's quinoa salad is: from the just-cooking-through of the onion and celery, to the skinning of the hazelnuts, to the hazelnut oil finish. This might be the perfect brown bag lunch -- or side dish at an elegant autumn dinner party. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 1 cupquinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 1/2 cupswater, for quinoa
  • 1 tablespoonof olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 cuphazelnuts, toasted, de-skinned and chopped
  • 1 bunch(about 5 to 6) green onions, chopped (green parts only)
  • 1/2 cupdried cranberries, chopped * see note
  • 1 bunchflat leaf parsley, thoroughly rinsed and chopped
  • 1 gala apple (really, any kind of apple will do)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • Generous drizzle of any kind of oil (I like hazelnut)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 325° F and toast your hazelnuts for about 7 to 10 minutes. Let them cool completely. You should begin to hear their skins crackle while cooling; this is a good sign!
  2. Meanwhile, cook your quinoa. Importantly, rinse it well! Boil the water with a pinch of salt, and add your rinsed quinoa. Turn your stove down to medium-low and let it cook for roughly 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork, and let it cool in the fridge.
  3. Going back to the cooled, toasted hazelnuts; remove the skins. Chop the hazelnuts up, leaving them in large pieces.
  4. Preheat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and soften your finely chopped onion and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Try not to brown them, 5 to 7 minutes on medium—low heat should do the trick. Set aside in a large salad bowl.
  5. Rinse your parsley well and chop it finely followed by your dried cranberries and green onions. Add all this to the onion and celery mixture.
  6. Core and dice the apple, put your apple chunks in the bowl with the other ingredients. Squeeze the entire lemon over the apple to season the salad and prevent the apple from turning brown.
  7. Add your quinoa and hazelnuts to the mixture, drizzle with the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Season with more lemon juice if you like.
  8. Mix well and cool completely. Allow the flavors to meld for 20 minutes before serving!


  • Salad
  • American
  • Celery
  • Hazelnut
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetable
  • Green Onion/Scallion
  • Apple
  • Cranberry
  • Parsley
  • Dried Fruit
  • Grains
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  • Allison Christian Hanner

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77 Reviews

FGROMANI July 11, 2022


LadyR September 11, 2021

Dear Back of the Spoon

I am also in Canada (Toronto area). The Food52 mention of snow caught my eye. Readers south of the 49th might put a finger on a globe at New York City and run finger slightly to the left (west) and they will see how far south our Toronto part of Canada area is. In Alberta you are MUCH farther North.

I have never eaten quinoa but plan on trying your interesting recipe. I make homemade candied various nuts including hazelnuts and store in my pantry.

I thought you might enjoy this Farm Apple recipe from one of my manuscripts.

Lady R


=No Ordinary Fall Farm Raw Apple Bruschetta"

After a family trip to the Apple farm where you can fill your own basket, prepare for when you get home to make an amazing Raw Crunchy Apple Bruschetta.

Before you leave home put a Brie wheel on the counter so it will be malleable when you get home. Cut it in half and half again and again, using a wetted thin blade knife until you get equal size slices.

Pick up a fresh small French bread baguette on the way home. Use a serrated bread knife to slice on the diagonal. Smear with a compound butter coin from your frozen reserve. Maybe choose citrus or even jerk. (From my upcoming ms: © Lady Ralston's Compound Butter "Coin Reserve" ~ because Butter makes it Better. A different kind of currency...) to be published next year.

Top the compound butter coin with a piece of Brie and pop in a preheated 350 F oven on a sheet pan on top rack for just minutes. Watch the Brie melt just a little.

Remove the diagonal bread slices and add mounded strips of large side box grater Apple (your favourite) to each baguette tapas with melted Brie slice, and salt the apple to draw the juices. Just as you serve drizzle with my Special Date Syrup.

This is a great addition to a fruit and cheese charcuterie board. Such an easy Fall fresh Apple cheese bruschetta treat.

You might like to spritz-marinate the apples using Bacardi (Puerto Rico) Black Rum just when you are preparing to eat right away. Or you could drizzle the mounded raw apples with my Citrus Beurre Blanc.

ALTERNATE: Substitute fresh picked homegrown beefsteak tomatoes, red or green and choose burrata cheese balls cut in half instead of Brie. Use loads of fresh ground peppercorns and popped fried capers, whole or crushed, bottled in brine. Scatter fresh picked delicate oregano petals from the garden or balcony pot.


Google: Capers are the green, unripened flower buds of the caper bush, also known as Flinders rose. ... Those are actually the fruit of the caper bush—the result of a bud left intact and allowed to develop into a flower, and eventually fruit. Caper berries can be pickled and used like pickles or olives.

Capers are also a fish.


Another alternate: Add instead of apple, a paper thin slice of a small raw peeled kohlrabi on top of melted Norwegian light Jarlsberg cheese. And top the tapas with a Bosc pear cut in brunoise.

Typically I don't buy anything categorized as light, but this cheese is wonderful and I use it often. Spritz with Fiero when ready to serve. And add a bit of minced homemade candied citrus rind from your pantry sugar jar.

Compliments of manuscript in progress:

© Lady Ralston's Canadian Contessa Amuse Bouche Hors D'Ouvres Collection ~ a Bite of this and a Nibble of that...

stefanie S. December 21, 2020

This is really excellent, and such a great base to add in your own favorites. I didn't get too hung up on the hazelnuts. I quickly toasted them up in a skillet and rubbed the skins off in a tea towel lightly, not wanting to rub off too much of the lovely oils. They turned out beautiful. I used lots of lemon juice and the zest, adjusted the seasoning. So Yum!

NXL March 28, 2020

This is a great, flavorful salad. I'd be careful with the nut oil use as they tend to be very strong and overwhelm the other ingredients.

Vowlry October 22, 2019

I made this to take for work lunches and added chickpeas for some extra heartiness and apple cider vinegar for a bit more zip, absolutely delicious! Tangy, sweet, sour, crunchy, chewy and filling - happy lunch!

Michelle M. July 24, 2019

Followed the recipe exactly and it was REALLY good!! Perfect alone as a meal in itself or as a side dish for dinner.

CM November 27, 2018

Hazelnuts don't need any help being delicious, but I felt that there was still something very much missing from this recipe. I made it exactly as specified and wanted more zing -- a bit more acid and a lot more flavor all around. Off the top of my head, I'd recommend including lemon zest, more green onion, and... something from the spice rack?

Emily October 11, 2018

This is a great recipe that I have made several times! It is a hit as an autumnal side dish. I normally used unsweetened dried cherries.

Allison C. August 6, 2018

So good as a side with any meat and so healthy! I use tart dried cherries instead of cranberries and everyone loves it!

Shrinkrap June 23, 2018

How far ahead can I make this? Can it be served room temperature?

Anna H. June 23, 2018

Oh Lord! This was to die for!!! Made it in about 45 min. This was the most delicious salad ever! With a choice of protein and solo on it's own! Unbelievably good! Thank you for the wonderful receipe. Truly a winner!

Mary K. April 8, 2018

I substituted (because it's what was on hand...) fresh pears for apples, and toasted pecans for hazelnuts, also tossed in some edamame, and cubed beets.....! Quinoa is wonderful as a salad. Thank you !!

VVV03 November 12, 2017

Tasty dish, but I have to disagree with anyone who says it's easy or quick. I suppose that is true if you have a sous chef to do all your prep and clean up work. But otherwise, very labor intensive. It's a typical tasty vegetarian meal to me -- takes a lot of work to get to the flavor. Long live animal fat is all I have to say. (but it was tasty. Not knocking the dish, but give yourself a couple of hours and a good attitude to get it done.)

Candy November 20, 2017

To cut down on prep work, Trader Joe’s has already toasted hazelnuts or sub in another toasted almonds, which are easy to find. As others have said, walnuts and pecans work well too and they have no skins. Use the food processor to chop onion and celery. I’ve even bought the sliced celery from the salad bar, given them a chop or two with the knife and thrown them in.

Gammy January 4, 2019

Thanks for the tip on Trader Joe's toasted hazelnuts. One issue was that although I rubbed and rubbed, the skins for the most part stayed on the nuts, so we got a bit of extra fiber. Timing was spot on... about 45 minutes until all was combined and in the fridge cooling.

Gabby S. November 8, 2017

I am making this for a school event and want to avoid nuts. Any suggestions for crunchy replacement?

ghainskom November 8, 2017

Pan roastef sunflower seeds?

patrick November 8, 2017

savory granola!

koc November 9, 2017

Jicama or water chestnuts would be good crunch replacements.

Andy H. November 5, 2017

How is the acid component in this salad? It seems pretty light on balance and might need a touch more acid. Has anyone experimented with that?

patrick November 8, 2017

i like to add lemon zest to increase the lemon aspect

Lucy May 29, 2017

Amazing. I subbed barley, slivered almonds, added dried tart cherries and raisins....so forgiving and so delicious. Thank you!!!!

SophieCatt April 21, 2017

WOW. This is awesome!

Patty February 27, 2017

Whoa, this is SUPER good. And I was not the only one enamored: I made it for a party and got rave reviews from everybody. I went very light on the oil and found the lemony taste wonderful. Such a great, delicate combination of flavors.

niemx February 2, 2017

Delicious! I made this for a potluck and got positive reviews. I did make a few adjustments: I used only half a bunch of parsley (it seemed like a lot of parsley!), used raisins instead of cranberries, used 4 green onions, and forgot to wash the quinoa.

With only half the amount of parsley used, I think the green onions were too strong. After preparing the salad, I thought it could use some more sweetness so I added probably about an extra third cup of chopped raisins. As the comments will tell you, this is a flexible and forgiving salad. It was my first time toasting and deskinning hazelnuts, and I found it a little annoying, so if I'm a little lazier I might use walnuts instead. But they were a nice touch and add a unique nutty flavor to the dish.

Remember to add salt!

Yayita January 29, 2017

This is a very forgiving and versatile dish. I modified since I didn't have all of the needed ingredients and even then it was a good salad. I omitted the green onions as I didn't have any, added dried pineapple strips since I didn't have enough dried cranberries, and substituted the lemon for sherry vinegar as I ran out of lemons. The one thing I wish I would have done more throughly is wash my quinoa as my quinoa was slightly bitter. Do not skip soaking and washing your quinoa! And when you do wash it, wash it until the water runs clear; something I didn't do and now my salad has a slight bitterness. Thankfully the sweet cranberries and apples offset this but I can only imagine how much better it would be without that bitterness.

Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, and Dried Cranberries Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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