January 24, 2012

Cranberry Apple-Cinnamon Quinoa

I don’t usually write about my personal life on my blog, but today marks a bit of a personal milestone that I wanted to share – it's my one year anniversary of being vegetarian!  I had already considered myself a 'flexitarian' for awhile, but one year ago today marks the official day that I made the decision to stop eating meat completely....and I’m happy to say that I haven’t looked back since!

I thought it would be difficult to give up some of my favourite fish or chicken meals, but honestly I haven’t ever craved them.  I would definitely say I’ve grown a lot in the past year in terms of my cooking style, what I eat, and what products I buy, and through this process I’ve learned a lot of new things and enjoyed cooking more than ever! 

It's funny to think that just one year ago, I had never even tried certain foods like quinoa - and now it's one of my favourite things to make!  So in honour of this occasion, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recipe for a simple and healthy vegetarian quinoa dish.

The recipe comes from a great blog, Daily Garnish. Her recipe looked perfect already, so the only change I made was to add the diced apples at the end rather than cooking them with the quinoa, since I wanted them to stay crisp. I also thought the cinnamon stick didn't provide enough flavour, so I added some extra ground cinnamon to each serving. 

Cooking the quinoa in orange juice gives it a fruity flavour that goes well with the apples and cranberries. This makes a nice light dish suitable for breakfast or lunch, and is a good recipe for the winter months when many other fresh fruits aren't available. 

Cranberry Apple-Cinnamon Quinoa
Slightly Adapted from Daily Garnish

1 cup dry red quinoa
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 medium apple, diced
Additional cinnamon for sprinkling

Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and lay the cinnamon stick in the middle of the quinoa. Add the orange juice and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the lid for the last 5 minutes of cooking to allow the remaining moisture to escape.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, remove the cinnamon stick and add the cranberries, pumpkin seeds and apples, tossing to combine. Sprinkle some extra cinnamon over each serving if desired.

Makes 3-4 servings.


  1. Happy veggiversary! I agree, I really pushed myself culinarily once I turned vegan. ;)

    1. Thanks Janet! I like that word too - now I actually have something to call this day!

  2. Your cooking has definitely gotten more creative over the last year! And I wouldn't be surprised if next year you end up celebrating a veganversary!

    1. You never know...we'll see if your prediction comes true!

  3. oh yum I LOVE quinoa and am always looking for ways to spice it up, leftovers would be a fabulous breakfast with some almond warmed over top too yum!!

    1. That does sound like a good idea! I like how you can change up the flavour of quinoa just by cooking it in different liquids - I bet apple juice would work well with this recipe too!

  4. Congratulations on your one year anniversary of being a Vegetarian! - isn't crazy how it just kinda becomes a part of you, I never looked back either - after being a vegetarian for 6 years I went Vegan 1 1/2 years ago and haven't looked back on that, it started out as a challenge, to see if I could do it then I did and fell in love with being a vegan.

    I have never had a sweetened version of quinoa, looks so, so good - I can't wait to share this recipe with my sister who is also a lover of the super grain!

    1. Thanks...I agree about how changing your diet can be a way of challenging yourself to try new things - that's part of the reason why I like being vegetarian! I'm still now sure if I'd be ready to fully commit to veganism yet, but your experience is encouraging!
      Glad you like the quinoa too - I usually stick to savory versions but I think it goes well with lots of types of fruit too!

  5. Yay for one year of vegetarianism! Congratulations :) In other news, your quinoa salad looks delicious. Isn't quinoa great? I can't even eat rice anymore because it pales in comparison to quinoa - such a great, hearty grain.

    1. Thanks Ashlae! I still think rice has a place sometimes, but I definitely prefer quinoa now! By the way, I love your blog :)

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    Thanking you

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