November 22nd, 2016

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans

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When it comes to planning my holiday menu, I try to include as many make-ahead dishes as I can. Things just seem to go more smoothly when I can do some prep work before the big day. Which is why I love recipes like the Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans.

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad

It’s festive and delicious, and I can get everything ready ahead of time, then store it in the refrigerator until it’s time to dish up my holiday feast.

Which brings me to another important part of holiday meal prep: food storage containers. I never seem to have enough of them when it comes to getting ready for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, not to mention, storing all of the leftovers.

It seems like I always get about three-fourths of the way done putting away the leftovers when I run out of containers. Every. Single. Year.

So this year I made sure to add some of the new Rubbermaid Brilliance containers to my storage container collection.


These containers are functional, beautiful, and perfect for storing everything I’ve prepped for my holiday meal, as well all my leftovers!

I have a confession to make. I’m kind of picky about my food storage containers. I like them to look pretty and stack neatly, and the Rubbermaid Brilliance line does all that and more.

Not only are these containers crystal clear, but they have an amazing leak-proof airtight seal. You can actually tell the difference in the seal when you put the lids on and take them off!

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans

They also have built in microwave vents and are made of premium stain and odor resistant material. And they’re dishwasher safe for easy clean-up!

The Rubbermaid Brilliance food storage containers come in a variety of sizes, and they were perfect for storing my Quinoa Pomegranate Salad (which can be started several days ahead), as well as storing the pomegranate seeds and candied pecans that I sprinkle on just before serving.

I love using pomegranates in my holiday recipes, because they add such a festive sparkle. Fun fact: pomegranate seeds are called arils.

It’s always a good idea to have a few “lighter” items on the holiday menu, and this salad is always a hit.

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans

And you won’t believe how easy it is to make the candied pecan garnish. Just whisk an egg white with a bit of water, some sugar, and a dash of cinnamon, then stir in your pecans.

Spread the coated pecans out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake them for about 25 minutes and you’ve got delicious candied pecans.

Perfect for sprinkling on holiday salads, or even giving as neighbor gifts!


The nuts will look quite frothy when you pull them out of the oven, but they’ll dry as they cool, and you’ll end up with a crunchy sweet coating that is pretty irresistible.

The recipe makes more pecans than you’ll need for the salad, but they’re great to have on hand for snacking during the holidays. The hardest part is not eating them all before it’s time to make your salad!

Not only are they easy to make, these candied pecans can be stored for up to a month in an airtight container. Just pop them into a Rubbermaid Brilliance container and keep them in the pantry until you need them.


When it’s time to assemble your salad, you’ll need some cooked, cooled quinoa, some pomegranate seeds, and some fresh herbs. I like parsley and thyme, but fresh mint is also really delicious in this salad!


Next you’ll whisk together a zesty citrus dressing made with olive oil, white wine vinegar and orange juice.

I like to stir about half of the dressing into the salad, then refrigerate it for a day or two, so the quinoa can soak up some of the flavors.

I keep the rest of the dressing in the refrigerator and add more, as needed, when it’s time to serve the salad–just be sure to bring the dressing to room temperature first.

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans

Don’t add your candied pecans until just before serving, or they’ll get soggy. I like to mix a few into the salad and sprinkle the rest on top for garnish.

I recommend adding the pomegranate seeds  just before serving too. That way they don’t turn  your quinoa a lovely shade of pink!

But you’ll want to seed your pomegranate ahead of time and keep the arils in a smaller Rubbermaid container so they’re ready to go.

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans


With the fresh herbs, tart pomegranates and sweet and salty pecans, this salad is an amazing blend of colors and flavors. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any holiday meal.

Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans

Preparation 10 min Cook Time 30 min Total Time 40 mins
Serves 6     adjust servings

This healthy holiday salad features quinoa, pomegranates, candied nuts and a zesty citrus dressing.


    For the candied pecans

    • 1 egg white, whisked
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 3 cups pecan halves
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    For the salad

    • 2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa, well drained
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
    • 2-3 green onions, diced
    • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
    • 1/2 cup chopped candied pecans

    For the dressing

    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced


    1. First, make the candied pecans. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (don’t skip lining your baking sheet).
    2. In a large bowl whisk the egg white and water vigorously by hand until very foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the nuts and stir to coat well.
    3. Stir in the sugars, cinnamon, and salt and mix until nuts are evenly coated. Turn nuts out onto to prepared baking sheet, spreading them in an even flat layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, watching carefully so nuts don’t burn. The coating may appear bubbly and wet in the center of the baking sheet even when nuts are ready to be pulled from oven, but the coating will firm up as the nuts cool.
    4. Allow nuts to cool on baking tray for at least 30 minutes. When nuts are cool enough to handle break into clusters. Transfer nuts to airtight containers and store at room temperature for up to one month.
    5. To make the dressing, whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir desired amount of dressing into quinoa mixture. Refrigerate salad for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
    6. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, herbs and green onions. Just before serving, stir in the pomegranate seeds and chopped candied pecans. If needed, stir in additional dressing before serving.

    Recipe Notes

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    Quinoa Pomegranate Salad with Candied Pecans


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    1. I absolutely love quinoa (I have it at least once a week) and I absolutely love this salad and the combination of flavors! I’d love to try this in the next couple of weeks! [client]

    2. Is quinoa like rice, in that it swells after cooking? If so, do you mean 2 c. before or after it is cooked? I’m not familiar with it but would like to try, and this looks like a really good recipe to use to start.

      • Yes it is like rice. This recipe needs 2 cups of cooked quinoa. Which is about 1 cup uncooked. There should be instructions on the package for cooking it.


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