Apple Almond Quinoa with Maple Sausage

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Apple Almond Quinoa with Maple Sausage is perfect for a light lunch, supper, or side. Packed with sweet and savory autumnal flavors, it is delicious served warm or room temperature.

Obsession alert!

Apple Almond Quinoa with Maple Sausage. I, uh, well I ate an entire batch throughout the day by myself last night…then afterwards Ben found quinoa stuck in my hair. Probably because I practically had my head in the bowl licking it clean. You’ve been there.

That is to say, OMG THIS STUFF IS SO GOOD!

Sunday evening I was flipping through my iPhone photos, reliving fun summer moments like our epic trip to Pittsburgh’s own Beer World, soaring above Napa Valley in a hot air balloon, and enjoying our faces off at the Lake of the Ozarks, when I came across a picture I’d snapped of a prepared salad at Whole Foods in June. Because this is what I do.

I had intended on re-creating the salad for a light summer supper, which is why I photographed the ingredient list, but I’m so glad I waited – then upgraded. Whole Foods’ combo of apple, dried cranberries, almonds, quinoa, green onions, with my addition of maple sausage, is SO FALL, that I can hardly even stand it.

Not only are the textures and flavors in what might be my favorite preparation of quinoa to date absolutely mouthwatering, but the recipe can be made in just 30 minutes, and enjoyed warm or cold. Serve as a light supper for one two, or flavorful side for more. Either way – you have GOT to try this!

Start theĀ Apple Almond Quinoa with Maple Sausage by rinsing 1/2 cup quinoa very well in a fine mesh strainer under cold running water, then cook in 1 cup chicken broth until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and cool slightly.

Don’t you just love the texture of cooked quinoa, by the way? They look like tiny springs – boing! Ahem.

While the quinoa is cooling, brown 3oz maple breakfast sausage in 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. The oil keeps the sausage from sticking to the skillet, and helps it to start browning. You could use any type of sausage, but I love the hint of maple-y sweetness this particular sausage adds to the dish.

Tip: to get nice sausage crumbles, break the sausage up before you start cooking (as seen in the above left picture,) then use a hard, spatula type thingy (helpful) to further break the sausage up as it cooks. I got this spatula with my food processor. It’s hard and just short of being sharp (twss,) which means it won’t scratch my skillet, but it’s really good at breaking up ground meat. Moving on…

Add the sausage to the quinoa cooling in a bowl, then add the rest of the salad ingredients:

2 small chopped green onions (or 1 large green onion,) 1 small chopped apple,

1/4 cup chopped almonds, and 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries.

Toss everything to combine…

Then serve. That’s it!

Apple Almond Quinoa with Maple Sausage

Print this recipe!

Serves 2 as a light main, or 4 as a side

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3oz maple breakfast sausage
2 green onions
1 small apple, chopped
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh strainer under cold, running water. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan then add rinsed quinoa. Place a lid on top, then simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sausage then brown and drain, if necessary. Add cooked sausage, green onions, chopped apple, almonds, and cranberries to the slightly cooled quinoa. Toss to combine then serve.

Between the nuttiness of the quinoa and almonds, sweetness of the apple and dried cranberries, and fresh bite from the green onion, there’s no need for dressing on this salad – it is incredibly flavorful all on its own. It’s really good cold too, but my favorite is when the quinoa and maple sausage crumbles are still nice and warm. SO YUM!

I’m jazzed to keep this recipe around for the holidays too. Thinking it’d be a great side for Thanksgiving or Christmas, what with all the bright, seasonal flavors and colors. I’m also toying around with the idea of using pomegranate arils instead of dried cranberries…

How bad could that be?! ;)

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