I’ve been getting back into vinyasa yoga lately. Most of the time I do yoga sculpt classes with weights, but recently I’ve needed some deep stretching and some major stress relief. The mind-body connection that yoga brings me is often times my favorite part of the class; I’m more self-aware, compassionate, and thoughtful with each class. I’ve also noticed that my anxiety diminishes.
The other day my instructor was talking about how you have to be brave in order to become your true self. How you have to go beyond what you think you’re capable of if you want to make something happen. Take a chance on something or someone.
Little conversations like those push me to be better. I’m happy to have the ability to make choices, change my future and create opportunities that I would have never thought possible. Thus on my journey to having a clear mind with less stress, I’m also focusing on having a healthy body. Eating clean, preparing my meals, and taking care of myself is so important.
This past weekend I made a big batch of this summery salad (with fall flavors?) My mom came over to help taste test, and she absolutely loved it. We enjoyed it cold served with some greek yogurt.
This salad was inspired by my favorite little meal at Whole Foods made with couscous. Every time I’m there I search for it.
This salad is packed with cranberries, pecans, and a delicious honey orange dressing. Of course, you can also make it vegan by using agave nectar instead of honey.
The toasted pecans and quinoa give it a nice nutty flavor, but the dressing sweetens it up a little. It would be a lovely light salad for a weekend picnic or paired with some salmon or chicken for a healthy, well-rounded meal.
It’s best to let the quinoa marinate with the dressing in the fridge before serving. I recommend adding the toasted pecans just before you’re ready to serve; that way they’ll stay nice and crunchy.
Don’t forget to tag your creations with #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram. I love seeing the recipes you make!
More quinoa salad recipes you’ll love:
Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad with Honey-Orange Dressing
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 medium orange, juiced
- zest of 1/2 an orange
- 1 tablespoon honey (or sub agave nectar to keep vegan)
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans on ungreased baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. While they're toasting you can start cooking your quinoa.
To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
To make dressing: Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, honey, tumeric, thyme.
Pour the dressing all over quinoa and add cranberries. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to absorb into quinoa.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Before serving fold in toasted pecans. Makes 5 servings; a little over 1/2 cup each.