Quinoa Salad with Saffron, Drunken Figs and Pistachios: Fiesta Friday #10

Quinoa Salad with Saffron, Drunken Figs and Pistachios

Quinoa Salad with Saffron, Drunken Figs and Pistachios

Come on in!!  No, don’t worry about taking off your shoes…just put your stuff on that table over there and grab a drink! Angie brought her delicious Latin Lover – the drink of course!  We will be pouring those all night  long and since this is a blog party, nobody has to worry about driving home – so you can have as many as you want!  I am so excited about being a co-hostess with Hilda this week at Fiesta Friday! Now I know that Angie said we didn’t have to worry about doing any extra cleaning or decorating.  But being an over-functioning hostess, I have been cleaning all week! Phew, I’m sure glad that Friday is here at last.  Now I can relax and enjoy your very fine company. So, Hilda, Angie – let’s get to it!  Who’s pouring?  OK!  I will!

Here’s my post for Fiesta Friday #10:

I love to cook with spices and am constantly fascinated at how a quick tweak in a few spice blends can completely change the flavour and character of a dish. Take some simple ingredients such as rice, beans and tomatoes. Add chili powder and cumin and it tastes like Mexico. Add some cinnamon, cumin and ginger and it becomes Middle Eastern. Or take cumin, coriander and garam masala and now we have Indian. The possibilities are infinite and we could explore them for a lifetime and still discover new combinations. Recently I took some classes on Moroccan cooking. During the first class, the chef brought out her little box of precious saffron. As she simmered the heavenly concoction she asked us if we could smell the saffron. This gave me pause – it dawned on me that I had never really smelled saffron in my own kitchen! Well, what the heck is wrong with me?? In the past when a recipe called for saffron, my eyes just glided over that ingredient, right on to the next one! Oh what a fool I have been! I guess that the price has just scared me away and I couldn’t see how the added cost could make an appreciable difference to the taste of the food – wrong! Well, now my friends, you are going to see a number of recipes on my blog, with saffron, because I can’t get enough of this intoxicating spice. I know it is the most expensive spice on the planet, but hey, it takes 200,000 crocus flowers to produce just 1 kilo of saffron! I think the price just might be justified!

I made this salad last weekend and my husband and I quickly polished it off! Good sign – the Fiesta Friday gang will enjoy it too! So I whipped up a fresh batch for all of you, my Fiesta Friday buddies! And for any of you reading this who haven’t heard of FF, you really must check out our host Angie’s blog: The Novice Gardener. Every Friday she hosts a virtually wild blog party. Check it out!!

 This recipe is adapted from “Whitewater Cooks at Home” by Shelley Adams.

DSC_3209

Quinoa Salad with Saffron, Drunken Figs and Pistachios

Ingredients:

¼ cup sweet port

½ cup dried Black Mission or Calimyrna figs, quartered

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

½ large white onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon saffron threads

2 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed well

1 large red pepper, diced

1 orange, peeled and segmented

¼ cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup pistachio nuts, chopped

sprigs of mint for garnish

Vinaigrette:

¼ cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon orange zest (optional)

Method:

Heat the port in a little pot and add the figs. Let simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until tender and drunk!  They will absorb all of the port. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté onion until golden brown. Add the garlic, cinnamon, cumin and cardamom and sauté until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Put the quinoa in a saucepan and add the chicken stock and saffron. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and leave saucepan on the element for 5 minutes. Remove from the element and fluff with a fork. Spread quinoa on a cookie sheet to cool.

Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl and stir in the onion, spice mixture, red peppers, oranges, figs, herbs and salt and pepper.

Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl.

Just before serving, sprinkle the salad with some of the vinaigrette. You will probably want to reserve some, depending on how moist your salad is. I find that the next day the salad is a bit drier and you may want to add more vinaigrette at that time.

Garnish with pistachios and sprigs of mint.

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114 Responses to “Quinoa Salad with Saffron, Drunken Figs and Pistachios: Fiesta Friday #10”

    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much Hilda!! Too much fun to be co-hosting with you!! I didn’t’ know that you were Canadian too! By the way Angie told us to keep an eye on Victoria and Justine. Apparently they have a thing for Angie’s Latin Lover!

      Reply
      • Hilda

        It is fun. Didn’t the maple syrup give it away that I was a fellow Canadian?

      • chefjulianna

        Oh it did indeed! What is more Canadian than maple syrup, eh? 😀 And Hilda, I just wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed co-hosting with you! This has been so much fun! 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Absolutely! This batch of cocktails is a bit on the strong side, so you’ll need a bit more salad to absorb the alcohol 😀

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      LOL! Yes, well that naughty Angie started it all with the Latin Lovers!! I just followed it up with a few drunken figs 😀 But yes, come right over – I’ve just made a fresh batch of Latin Lovers…they are very cool and inviting! 🙂

      Reply
  1. Lisa

    What a great combination of flavors! Love the figs – what a sweet addition to a salad! Looks so hearty. I love salads like yours that are filled with interesting textures and flavors.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Lisa! Yes, I am really into those big salads with lots going on! Every bite is interesting!

      Reply
  2. Nancy

    This salad looks amazing and sounds absolutely delicious. Port soaked figs? Mmm… sounds perfect! And a big “Thank You” for taking on the co-hosting duties with Hilda this week!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Nancy! Well, yes we couldn’t let poor Angie’s place be invaded by us Friday after Friday, could we? I am loving these Fiesta Fridays and so happy that I get to host one with Hilda! Who wouldn’t want to when the guests are all so talented and interesting like the FF gang? 😀

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Well, you can believe me that it tastes as good as it looks…come on…hey, I made an second batch just for you guys:D

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      LOL! Yes, I thought they’d get along just fine with the rest of us after we’ve all had a couple of Angie’s cocktails 😀

      Reply
  3. Ngan R.

    Julianna! What a beautiful salad–so earthy and healthy! I love quinoa and eat it at least twice a week now, breakfast, lunch or dinner! Always looking for new ways to incorporate it into my meals. I will definitely go back for seconds (if you don’t mind)–since you know, I’ve had one too many of Angie’s Latin Lovers already and need something to soak it all up.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Ngan! Yes, quinoa has become a staple in our house and we eat it at any meal too! Please take seconds! I know that Dimple was planning on hogging the whole bowl, but I brought an extra one for her! So, hey you can have as many Latin Lovers as you want – there is enough salad and other goodies here for you to consume them all night long! 😀

      Reply
  4. Noony

    One of the most beautiful and delicious-looking salads I have ever seen! So glad you are co-hosting this week. 🙂

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks Noony! Only the best for my blogging buddies!! I am so happy to be co-hosting this week! Really glad to see you again…sure hope you are enjoying yourself! Let me know if there is anything I can get you…another plate perhaps? Wow, we have so many stunning treats this week! I hope you have room to taste everything! 😀

      Reply
      • Noony

        You have been a lovely host. I will have another cocktail, please. Don’t worry – I am very good at nibbling a little bit of everything throughout the night. 🙂

      • chefjulianna

        Phew! And every time I turn around there is something new on the table to nibble! Amazing huh 😀 Have a great week, Noony!

  5. weebirdiecafe

    I am guilty as charged on the account of skipping saffron like you, Julianna. Now, you told me, I shall buy a pack! Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  6. Sylvia @superfoodista.com

    I love this recipe so much Julianna – and of course your pictures are so beautiful and mouthwatering! I have been making a lot of quinoa salads, but this is such a great idea to add fruits, love it and must give it a try sometimes!! hugs, Sylvia

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Haha, Geraldine! Well, if I made you hungry, you should come over to Fiesta Friday and check out what the other bloggers have brought! I know you are a foodie and would love the gorgeous array of dishes that are on the table! But hurry…Angie’s Latin Lovers are getting a bit low and you’ll want to try one of those for sure! 😀

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Laura! It is really special…and gluten free! Are you interested in joining us over at Fiesta Friday? There are always some awesome gluten free dishes and of course so many interesting bloggers to chat with! Check it out, it would be nice if you joined us!

      Reply
  7. Arl's World

    This salad looks pretty and colorful and sounds delicious. I am just making my way around to try some. I think I was at the drink table to long! Haha j/k! 😉 But doesn’t everything look delish! Thanks for sharing this wonderful salad and for co-hosting!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Ha ha! I think most of us have been hanging out around that drink table for too long 😀 It’s getting just a little loud in here – who keeps turning up the music?? Thank goodness I warned the neighbours that I’d be having a bunch of wild bloggers over – actually I just saw one of my neighbours checking out our awesome food! 🙂 Oh, and so glad you are enjoying my salad 😀

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Liz! I’m always on the hunt for something delicious and healthy! The best of both worlds! Liz, have you thought of joining us at Fiesta Friday?? You are such an awesome cook and blogger, I would love it if you would join us!! 😀

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Fae!! Your joined us all the way from Singapore?? So, you just can’t resist a good party I see!! I also saw that you even brought something for us – I’m going to get over to the food table in a minute and check it out! So very happy that you could make it! Sure hope you are enjoying your trip and can’t wait to see your photos and hear your stories when you return! 😎

      Reply
  8. Stacey Bender

    Thanks for all your effort on our account; a lovely co-host indeed. I am a big fan of figs, dried, drunken, fresh…love them all. Looks great.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Mmmm I agree – drunk figs, sober figs, I’ll eat them any way! So glad you are enjoying the party – now, may I refresh your drink? 🙂

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Indira! Indira, why don’t you join us over at Fiesta Friday? It’s an awesome party and you are such an amazing cook and blogger! Come and join us 😀

      Reply
  9. Selma's Table

    That is such a beautiful salad Julianna! I love saffron especially in seafood and cakes – a few strands go a long way which is great as it is so eye-wateringly expensive! Thanks for co-hosting Fiesta Friday – I’m hankering after one of Hilda’s maple syrup cocktails…; )

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hi Selma! Glad you like the look of the salad! Yes, I will be trying saffron in some seafood dishes and cakes now that I have vowed to use it 😀 It is such a pleasure to be able to co-host this awesome soirée and I would be so happy to get you one of Hilda’s amazing maple syrup cocktails! She’s holding up really well after doing so much work for us; boiling down maple syrup and making us cookies and cocktails – I attribute that to the maple syrup cocktails 🙂

      Reply
  10. simplyvegetarian777

    First of all congratulations on co hosting the fiesta # 10 with Angie. How exciting and all the best for hosting a mix of party people here ;).
    And finally, what a gorgeous salad you have brought to the tabes this party. Drinker figs, saffron, quinoa and pistachios in I combination of few wither ingredients…a wholesome, aromatic and a soulful dish. I am just imagining the flavor of saffron and quinoa together….what a warm combination!
    Cheers to that with a glass of Latin Lover 🙂
    Sonal

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      LOL! Yes, and I am having so much fun too! The more I get to know the Fiesta Friday gang, the more I like these guys – and we only have Angie to thank for all of this – can you hear me Angie? (I think I see her over at the drink table again hanging out with the Latin Lover that she brought 😎 ) Angie – we love Fiesta Friday and you are so awesome for organizing this for us!!

      Reply
  11. The Novice Gardener

    Julianna, you are a perfect co-host. You and Hilda both! So, don’t be surprised if I ask you two to do another round in the future, maybe even with more duties added. Scared? Hahaha… Don’t worry, only when you’re ready.

    The salad, by the way, is just too fabulous for words! How in the world did you come up with such a recipe? I read the ingredients and I just knew instantly this would be a great dish to serve at a party. Just. So. Special.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Ahhhh, I’m really scared 😥 Can’t find an emoticon for horror, so that’s me crying ! 🙂 Actually, it has been a lot of fun! I think I mentioned that I love to party, so being a co-host for your Fiesta has been a hoot and it has been a perfect pleasure to co-host with my Canadian buddy, Hilda! She is so smooth and gracious and I loved sharing bar duties with her – she kept my drink topped up all night long 😎 So you just have to say the word, and I’m sure we would love to do it again, eh Hilda? Glad you liked my salad with drunken figs! I thought the guests would appreciate it and I think they did!

      Thanks again Angie for asking Hilda and I to co-host! It has honestly been an honour and all of us at Fiesta Friday are so thrilled that you have set up this party atmosphere where we can mix and mingle and be silly and share what each of us loves best, be it recipes, photos, poetry or stories. You are awesome!

      Reply
  12. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs

    Julianna..your excitement is so contagious!! And..I could feel myself feeling happy while I was reading this post…. your salad is superb… drunken figs? Just fabulous!! I must try this very soon! 🙂 So exciting to have you and Hilda co-host with Angie!!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      So glad you like the salad, Prudy! Oh yes, you really must try the drunken figs – really nummy 😉 I have to admit that I was thrilled when Angie asked me and Hilda to co-host! The Fiesta Friday gang is an amazingly talented and fun group to hang out with and this party has been so much fun! See you next week, huh?

      Reply
  13. saucygander

    Wow, drunken figs, just…wow! As for saffron, I’ve cooked with it before, but I have to remind myself to add enough so that its gorgeous colour and smell start to fill the kitchen. This salad basically has all of my favourite things in the same bowl, plus some things I didn’t know I needed (ie drunken fig). Awesome recipe Juliana, and thanks for being such a great host for FF! 😀

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      You’re welcome, Saucy! I have really enjoyed co-hosting this bunch of rowdy, voraciously hungry, cocktail wielding bloggers!! It has just been so much fun! Glad you like the salad too. Drunken figs are wonderful on their own, by the way! 😀

      Reply
  14. Tea with Erika

    What a gorgeous salad! I think I’ll have to overcome my fear of tasting new things – confession: I’ve never tried quinoa :\

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Oh Erika, you don’t know what you’re missing! I just love this stuff. I have another recipe on my blog for Quinoa, Black Bean Salad! I have converted many quinoa initiates with that recipe! Check it out 😀 I hope you have a wonderful week!

      Reply
  15. strictlydelicious

    teeheehee… Drunken figs 😉 Yes, I would like to get some figs drunk. Can I just have the drunken figs please??? No wait, cause then I would miss out on the rest of this INCREDIBLE salad! I just love what you’ve done here! I too have been terribly guilty of always neglecting poor lil saffron, but you’ve inspired me to change that. Thou shalt not treat spices with favoritism just because thou art afraid. Equal love for all the spices!!!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Lina! Sure you can have just drunken figs – I won’t tell anyone 😎 ! And I will remember about not favouring some spices! I must admint that I have some very unloved spices in my spice drawer! Hope to see you again next week at Fiesta Friday!

      Reply
      • strictlydelicious

        Haha me too! I was speaking to myself on that cooking commandment but I’m sure I’m not the only one… See you next week and thanks for being such a gracious host!

  16. aiming4simple

    What a salad! You are way ahead of me in the functioning hostess department. Thanks for sharing with us this week! -Julia

    Reply

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