Place the quinoa, salt, and 420 ml (2 cups) water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature and let simmer for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, you can continue with steps 3 and 4.
Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork. Transfer to a bowl to cool, cover with saran wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld.
During this waiting time, you can continue with the following steps.
Place the cherries in a small bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
You can use this time to prepare the remaining ingredients (step 4).
Juice the lemons, or measure out the amount of juice listed if you have already done this. Coarsely chop the pecans. Set both ingredients to the side.
For 60 ml lemon juice, you will need about 1½ lemons.
Based on our own experience, we would recommend using only half of the lemon juice called for in the recipe. If you then decide that it isn’t enough, you can always add more.
Rinse off the soaked cherries and let drain.
Stir the olive oil and lemon juice into the cooled quinoa. Slice the cherries, if desired, and then stir in along with the pecans.
Season with salt.
Cherries and freshly squeezed lemon juice give this quinoa salad a light, fruity taste. You can vary the flavor by adding mint, cilantro, or chili peppers.
Serving size: As a side dish, this recipe is designed to make 8 servings. If you would like to serve it as a main dish, it will be enough to serve 4.
Quinoa: Quinoa is a pseudograin that originated in the South American Andes. The quinoa sold commercially has had the bitter coating called saponin removed. Quinoa is available in different varieties and colors. White quinoa has a light texture when cooked whereas red quinoa has a somewhat richer taste and holds its shape better. Black quinoa holds its shape the best and has an earthy, slightly sweet flavor. It is best to wash quinoa before cooking to remove any remaining traces of the bitter saponin. Quinoa is gluten-free and contains more protein, magnesium, and iron than the other common types of grains. It also contains all of the essential amino acids, including lysine!
Dried cherries: You can buy both dried sweet cherries and tart cherries. The dried cherries take on a dark red color, have a soft texture, and depending on the variety have a more sweet or tart flavor.
Lemon juice: Lemons are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, have an antibacterial effect, and strengthen the immune system. The fruity acidity of lemon juice gives this dish a light, refreshing taste. In addition, the vitamin C improves the absorption of the iron contained in the quinoa.
Pecans: Pecans have a slightly sweet flavor and are very nutritious. They contain over 70 % unsaturated fatty acids, although the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio at 20:1 is not very good and much higher than the ratio for walnuts. Pecans contain a wide range of minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as vitamins B2 and E. Click on the ingredient to read more detailed information.
Dried cherries: Dried tart cherries work best with this recipe. These are sold commercially both sweetened and unsweetened. The latter variety is more nutritious and also tastes better in this dish.
Pecans: Fresh pecans are sold in the autumn and winter at farmers markets. Since the pecan shell is quite thin, pecans can be shelled by hand. At other times of the year, you can buy them packaged whole, sliced, chopped, or ground.
Additions: If you would like to vary the recipe, you can add some mint or cilantro. Chili peppers also harmonize well with the fruity flavor of the dried cherries.