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I tend to cook vegetarian when the S.O. is out of town.  I like to say this is partly because the S.O. is an it’s-not-a-meal-without-meat kind of guy, so I take advantage of him traveling by cooking lighter for myself.  But, really, the main reason is that without him to stick on dish-washing duty, I don’t want to dirty so many pots and pans cooking anything elaborate.

When faced with the dinner dilemma on Wednesday, I opted for this very simple summer salad.  I soiled eight dishes from start to finish — a pot and lid, two bowls, a cutting board, a spoon, a fork, and a knife — so cleanup was a breeze (and mostly done while waiting for the quinoa to cook).

Quinoa is cooked with cumin and coriander for a touch of Middle Eastern flavor, echoed by the addition of nuts and dried fruits.  The quinoa adds heft to a green salad, but the honey, lemon, and olive oil dressing keeps things light.

Middle Eastern-Spiced Quinoa and Dried Fruit Salad

  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • handful dried apricots, diced
  • handful dried cherries (can substitute other tart dried fruit)
  • handful roasted cashews
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salad greens (I had mixed baby greens in the fridge, but spinach would also work)

Cook the quinoa with the cumin and coriander in water (2:1 water:quinoa ratio).  Make dressing with honey, olive oil, and lemon, adjusting proportions to taste; set aside.  Toss all ingredients and top with dressing.

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