Christmas Quinoa With Cranberry Reduction Sauce

Quinoa is a staple in my family. We eat it daily, in fact. It’s a protein powerhouse and so versatile, you just can’t go wrong. This recipe creation came about due to my large supply of cranberries that I needed to use. This won’t be my last cranberry recipe to come!

With the holidays upon us, the idea of a Christmas inspired quinoa dish excited me. What better way to dress the salad than with a popular fruit of the season, cranberries! It’s not only gorgeous to look at, but it is truly bursting with flavors. From the sweet tartness from the cranberries, the deep richness of balsamic, the earthiness of the quinoa and the freshness of the mint, it’s a winning dish in my opinion.

A dish always needs a fresh element, so that’s where the kale comes in. To freshen the palette, I added a touch of mint, which finishes nicely after the tartness of the dressing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Recipe:  Serves 4  Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 30 mins

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Gluten-free (Make sure all ingredients are labeled to be in a gluten-free facility if you’re gluten sensitive, in case of cross contamination)

Ingredients to prepare quinoa:

1 cup white quinoa

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Cranberry reduction ingredients:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1 large zucchini sliced

1/2 cup corn

1 cup fresh baby kale

Few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped


First, prepare the balsamic reduction sauce. Add all the cranberry reduction ingredients to a small pot and bring to a slight boil. Once boiling, turn to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, whisking often to prevent it from clumping. It should become thick by then. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a food processor. Pulse until very smooth. Taste and add any more oil or water if you prefer the tart taste to be milder. I liked it just as is.

Tip: While the sauce is cooking, prepare the quinoa.

Add all the “quinoa ingredients” into a small pot and bring to a boil, then turn to simmer and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until almost all the broth has evaporated. Turn the heat off and keep the lid on and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Prepare the zucchini and corn as your preferred cooking method.

Assemble all the ingredients onto a large platter or bowl. Drizzle the sauce and toss to coat everything evenly. The sauce is very concentrated, so just start with a little bit and store the extra in the fridge. Chop some fresh mint for garnish on top. It really gives a pleasing finish to the palette, against all the strong flavors.

Enjoy….even if it isn’t Christmas yet!


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Gluten Free, Party Platters, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN


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33 Comments on “Christmas Quinoa With Cranberry Reduction Sauce”

  1. November 13, 2012 at 6:26 PM #

    This certainly does look very festive and delicious 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. November 13, 2012 at 6:53 PM #

    Fabulous dish – I love quinoa 🙂

  3. November 13, 2012 at 8:19 PM #

    Looks like a beautiful Christmas wreath, love quinoa!! Sending this to my friend who has to make vegan food for Thanksgiving, this is perfect.

    • November 14, 2012 at 7:10 AM #

      Aww thanks so much! I love how it turned out! That is so nice of you, thanks a million! 🙂

  4. November 13, 2012 at 10:19 PM #

    My family’s from Peru so Quinoa is very popular here! I always use it in my salads or even as a rice substitute. I like what you did with it here.

    • November 14, 2012 at 7:11 AM #

      Thank you so much Melissa! I truly appreciate your comment 🙂

  5. November 13, 2012 at 10:34 PM #

    Brandi! I LOVE this!! and it’s so pretty! What a great side or salad for a holiday dinner! Love that you included zucchini and kale, some of my faves!!

  6. petit4chocolatier
    November 14, 2012 at 2:05 AM #

    Brandi, this is a beautiful holiday centerpiece! The red and green are vibrant and look so healthy delicious!

    • November 14, 2012 at 7:13 AM #

      Thank you Judy! Yes, I’m loving the beautiful holiday-ish colors of this dish too…it’s so pretty to look at while eating! 🙂

  7. November 14, 2012 at 4:05 AM #

    I’m sure this is as delicious as it is beautiful!

  8. Healthy Glow Nutrition
    November 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM #

    Beautiful presentation! And a healthy meal as well 🙂

    • November 15, 2012 at 3:20 AM #

      Thank you so much!!

      • Healthy Glow Nutrition
        November 15, 2012 at 4:10 AM #

        You’re very welcome!

  9. November 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM #

    So beautiful! And a cranberry reduction is the perfect topper!

  10. November 15, 2012 at 3:06 AM #

    Wow, a pretty and healthy dish for Christmas.

  11. November 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM #

    Oh my. Really?…! That is not only delicious sounding that is food art

    • November 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM #

      You are sooo sweet! Thank you for such an amazing compliment! You made my day. I take so much pride in what I do, so it truly means the world for you to say that! 🙂

  12. November 16, 2012 at 9:34 PM #

    What an amazing & wonderful Christmassy creation with quinoa! So beautiful to look at too!

  13. November 17, 2012 at 5:45 AM #

    I love this idea! I have been trying to think of something interesting to do with cranberries, and this is perfect!

    • November 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM #

      Thank you so much! I have another cranberry recipe coming soon too…dessert! 🙂

  14. November 18, 2012 at 12:30 AM #

    Devine devine devine! I cannot wait to try this!

  15. December 4, 2012 at 9:04 PM #

    Ahh, that looks so delicious!!

    • December 5, 2012 at 3:44 AM #

      Thank you so much..I truly appreciate your comment…thank you for stopping by 🙂

      • December 5, 2012 at 9:41 AM #

        My pleasure! I shall be back… this time on a full stomach so that it’s not to torturous 🙂


  1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas Quinoa « jittery cook - December 23, 2012

    […] Christmas Quinoa With Cranberry Reduction Sauce ( […]

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