Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad For French Fridays

Because of black quinoa’s striking color, reminds me of wild rice, I decided to use it in my salad this week for French Fridays with Dorie.  Attempting to give my salad even more visual pizazz  I added orange zest and crème fraiche with sprigs of watercress on top.  I did a fair amount of tinkering with this recipe, more than I’ve done with the past recipes I’ve made from Around My French Table.  I’m not going to give the original recipe here, if you want it you’ll have to pick up Dorie’s book.  But, I will pass along all my notes on the changes I made.  Along with the suggested dried cranberries I added strips of dried mangoes and dried figs.  I used pine nuts, pistachios and almonds for the mixed nuts.  I used chopped mint for my herb as that’s available in a pot on my deck year round and I like it with all the other flavors.  I added grated fresh ginger and used more walnut oil than olive oil in the vinaigrette.  I substituted crème fraiche for plain yogurt, orange juice for lemon juice and watercress for mixed salad greens.  Hello recipe, I was going for more flavor with the fresh ginger, a higher proportion of walnut oil and crème fraiche instead of plain yogurt, which did not sound appealing to me on top of this salad.  I also prefer orange juice with the zest to using only lemon juice.  The flavors in this salad will continue to develop if allowed to rest for at least an hour at room temperature.  I would take this salad to a picnic and put it together with the greens and crème fraiche right before serving.  My favorite thing about this salad- the figs and the orange zest.  That sounds familiar, I may have made the same comment about the Beggar’s Linguine a few weeks ago.

Could this be the start of homemade trail mix or the fruits and nuts for a quinoa salad?
Check out what everybody else made here, I’m curious how many Doristas made changes to this recipe??
 Even after all my tinkering or maybe because of it I didn’t love this salad, I don’t know maybe it needed garlic, or it had too much texture, aka, it got stuck in my teeth.  But on the bright side I sure do have a nice stash of dried fruits and nuts in my pantry.
Share this post →
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone


  1. I'm sorry you didn't totally love this salad, I can see how the texture could be a bit of an issue here. 5 Star Foodie Jr. would love this though and she has lots of dried fruits and nuts on her shelf in our pantry to use up (yes she does have her own shelf now!)

  2. Good morning!
    It certainly looks very lovely. The black quinoa adds an interesting look. I found I liked the salad much better on the second or third day vs. straight up.
    I think the orange would have been outstanding, thanks for sharing your changes.

  3. What gorgeous photos, Patty! The fresh ginger was a great idea…I really wanted more ginger flavor than I got from the dried version. Love the look of the mango strips, too~

  4. Oh Patty, sorry you didn't love the salad! It certainly looks delicious to me… it actually looks like my kind of salad. Hearty and healthy. I haven't tried black quinoa before but I'm really intrigued by it!

  5. Aww..I'm sorry you didn't completely love your salad, Patty. With all the substitutions you made, it sounds absolutely delicious though. The dried mango and dried figs would've hit the spot for me, but I love that you took this to a whole new level. Great choice with the black quinoa, really makes the dish pop out with the contrasting colour of the white creme fraiche sprinkled lightly with orange zest. All in all, a great salad. Hope you find the perfect mix of ingredients to your liking next time. Have a lovely weekend, Patty!

  6. Great photos! I love the look of the black quinoa…nice job!

  7. It's too bad you didn't love it -your photos certainly make it look good! I think it may be too much texture for some – maybe more salad and less quinoa in a serving. I saw this same salad on Kate's site (Diethood), she did less tinkering, tho ;)

  8. Great photos, Patty! I love quinoa but I don't think I'll be making this recipe again. I loved the fruit and nut combo in beggar's linguine but not so much here… Maybe it needed beurre noisette? :)

  9. I stuck to the recipe as to the main components, but added probably the minimum nuts and fruits I could get away with. I served the quinoa over lettuce, added slices of cooked chicken thighs, and served with extra dressing and the yogurt. I was surprised by the tang of the yogurt with the sweet lemon-ginger combination and the saltiness of the chicken. The black quinoa looks so dramatic against the serving bowl! I have to admit that when I first read the recipe I thought it would be too similar to Beggar's Linguine, but was pleasantly surprised.

  10. Beautiful dish. I used the red quinoa and love the contrast of colors. And like you I used grated ginger and I loved the flavor.

    Angie @ Cocina Diary

  11. Oooh what a beautiful salad! I've actually never dabbled with the colored quinoas but I like the looks of this :)

  12. Terrific photos, Patty! Makes me wish I'd followed the right recipe! LOL! I love the addition of watercress, too.

  13. Beautiful salad and great photos. I enjoyed reading about all of your substitutions- they sounded fabulous. I had been toying with the fig idea myself but when I eyed up my remaining few I moved on to “Beggar's Linguine” …which I love so very much :) Nana was not a big fan either but we are very curious about this new ingedient to us and will be playing around with it much more.

  14. The black quinoa is striking and unlike any of the ones I've seen at my grocery store. The salad sounds very interesting and is certainly beautiful to look at. :o)

  15. I like the black quinoa, too. I made it exactly according to the recipe, which I found to be extremely versatile, and I liked it alot. However, I'm playing with ways to make it more savory … with a bit of a Greek twist, I think!
    Great photos!

  16. Great minds think alike with that zest topping! Your photos are beautiful as always! I used mint so the yogurt was a natural and perfect choice.

  17. looks good, and I especially like everything you added to it… yep, would be great on a picnic

  18. That's not only a bowl of salad, but a bowl of goodness!

  19. Well it certainly makes for a stunning salad, sorry to did not really enjoy it.

  20. Great combination! And nice plates and bowls too.

  21. I've had red and white quinoa, but never black! Your fruit and nut mix is gorgeous! This sounds like something I'd really like. :)

  22. This salad looks beautiful…and I'm sorry that the flavor wasn't just as stunning. Thank you for sharing with me tonight. After such a difficult week, it has been so refreshing to return to the blogs (and bloggers) that I love. I hope you have a blessed Sunday, sweet woman!

  23. I love all your changes:) i have made quinoa many times, and it's so versatile and adjustable. We just have to experiment and find the right combination of flavors. I liked this incarnation:)
    Your photos are gorgeous! Until next week:)

  24. The salad looks very beautiful with great presentation :)

  25. I just discovered quinoa, but have not seen the black quinoa before. It will definitely have to be something I keep an eye out for :) This presents beautifully…I hate when recipes look so good and don't quite live up to my expectations. It always leaves me anxious to tweak and improve the recipe though!

  26. I'm not sure if i'm a big fan of quinoa but you make it sound so good and trigger my crave. I'm sorry you didn;t like it much. Oh well, you know what you like and don't like in this recipe now. So, I'm sure next time you will have a right adjustment to your taste buds! i like the idea of taking this to a picnic and letting it soak to absorb all the flavors.

  27. This is a great use of quinoa. I love the salad, but I also want to grab a big fist full of the nuts on the plate!

  28. That is a lovely salad! So healthy and full of fresh flavors… Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful blog and I'm looking forward to exploring your recipes.

  29. Thank goodness for your trusted experience in the kitchen Patty…I'm really with you on your twists about this one. My middle name is flavour. LOL

    The preparation does look lovely and very inviting ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  30. It looks beautiful and sounds like it would taste good, too. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more. We did, but we really like quinoa and all my additions were things we have on hand and enjoy.

Leave a Comment