Summer Cherry and Quinoa Salad
There’s a fantastic farm right by my mom’s house. Talya loves going there and happily picks fresh fruit and vegetables with Rosemary, the farmer’s wife. Now that they’ve gotten older, Rosemary and her husband close the farm in the winter months. But come spring, they open their farmstand and fill baskets with golden corn, plump squash and sweet cherries.
I created this salad shortly after we picked our first cherries of the season. After consuming a couple pounds of cherries, I tossed the rest into a salad, giving them a new lease on life. The salad was a big hit. I’ve made it several times since and it always disappears within a day. The key is to use plenty of toasted almonds, a creamy (preferably sheep’s milk) feta, and very sweet cherries.
Cherry and Quinoa Salad
1 cup rainbow quinoa
½ cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon za’atar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Cook the quinoa following the package instructions. Be sure you don’t overcook, or the quinoa will turn mushy.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes, until fragrant and golden in color. Remove the almonds from the oven and allow to cool.
Once the quinoa is cooked, thoroughly drain and allow it to cool. While the quinoa cools, wash, pit and slice the cherries.
Once cool, toss the quinoa into a bowl. Add the chopped almonds, fresh cherries, mint, za’atar, and olive oil. Season according to taste with salt. Sprinkle the feta on top and serve.
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