Quin-Waldorf Salad

by Sarah on December 23, 2011 · 16 comments

Just when you thought I’d think of nothing else I could possibly stuff into squash“Oops, I stuffed it again!”*

*Actually, I stuffed this squash weeks ago, but I forgot to share. Timelines get a but fudged when you’re moving around so much.

This time, I stuffed it with Waldorf Salad.

Or should I say…Quin-Waldorf?^

^Quinoa-ldorf? Keen-wall-dorf?Of course, I’ve taken out the mayonnaise, and I completely forgot the “real” Waldorf Salad recipe is supposed to have celery in it, but I think that the Waldorf-Astoria hoteliers will forgive me (this time).
I’m not really sure how this all began. It might have been the “accidental Waldorf” I made by throwing together random ingredients onto my oatmeal one morning.I looked down and stared–in the way you stare at someone you’re seated near in a restaurant whom you vaguely recognize but can’t place–until I laughed and thought, “Why, it’s a Waldorf!” in excitement.*

*And, unlike when you realize that person you vaguely recognize was the popular girl in high school whom you don’t particularly want to talk to, so you duck your chin and walk quickly on, this was a brilliant and happy discovery.
And from there, the apples and grape pairing spiraled into a rather bizarre obsession. Following the success of my veganized Apple-Cranberry Crumble, I had made the apple-cranberry filling (sans crumble) once or twice, just because I was loving the baked apples so much.
But then, with the influx of the big, juicy Holiday grapes in stores, I began to wonder….what would happen if I roasted some grapes?*
*A 375-degree oven, chopped apples tossed in pie spice [or cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg] go in first…followed by halved grapes, similarly tossed, 15 minutes later. Cook ’em both until juicy.
Turns out that was an excellent plan. The sweetly spiced roasted grapes and apples were delicious both on my Vegan Pumpkin Mousse
…and also on my oatmeal in the morning.
And then I started to talking to Shelly, and she asked me an intriguing question, “Sarah, have you ever tried making savory baked apples? I bet they’d taste really great with thyme, don’t you?”*
*What I love about Shelly is her ability to enlighten you on something foodie fabulous and then give you the opportunity to tell her you’d totally already thought of it before but just hadn’t gotten around to making it yet.

What resulted was a thrown together meal that I didn’t realize would be amazing, and therefore didn’t plan for fabulous lighting…or take many photographs. I tried to save it and wait to photograph it the next day, but, following a late night hunger-induced fridge raid, this was all that remained in the morning.
But the good news is you don’t need to use any particular type of apple, and you don’t need to use the fancy schmancy Holiday grapes. In fact, you don’t even need to stuff it into squash for the Quin-Waldorf Salad to be scrumptious.*
*And for confirmation, I ran it by Mama Smart. She responded by eating it for lunch two days in a row.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Chop some apples and grapes and toss ’em in dried rosemary and thyme, with a sprinkle of salt and a grind or two of pepper.
Put the pan in the oven, and, while they are roasting, cook some quinoa on the stove.
Season the quinoa with some more dried thyme and rosemary, and, if you desire, a wee smidge of olive oil.
Once the grapes and apples (grapples?*) are cooked, but not mush (you do want a little ‘bite’)…
*I’ve never actually had one of those. They kind of freak me out.

…and them to the quinoa and stir everything to combine.

Now would be where you add the walnuts. If you have them. If you don’t, I can tell you with 100% certainty that pecans are a perfect substitute.
Stir some more…and that’s it! Nothing more to it that a decision as to whether you will eat it hot or cold, as a main dish or a side.

You may also choose to sing the little known, but somehow enjoyable (in a “maybe I will become a punk rock princess after all” kind of way), Good Charlotte song, “Waldorf Worldwide” from their 2000 self-titled album while making it. But maybe that’s just something that I like to do.

Quin-Waldorf Salad
(Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side)
1 cup chopped apples
1 cup diced grapes
dried thyme and rosemary, to taste
s + p
1 Tbsp. olive oil (optional)
3/4 cup dried quinoa
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Toss apples and grapes in thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees until softened, about 20-30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions.
3. Put cooked quinoa into a medium-sized mixing bowl and season with more thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil (if desired).
4. Stir roasted apples and grapes into quinoa, stirring well to combine.
5. Sprinkle nuts over salad for pretty presentation…or just mix ’em right in.
6. Serve cold or hot…stuffed into squash, or not.


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