Among all of the fall fruits, quince is probably the most misunderstood. It looks like it could be as tasty as an apple or a pear, but if you bit right into it you’d be disappointed – its consistency is woody and its taste is astringent. But – and this is an important point – if you treat it nicely, you’ll be forever a fan of quince’s charms.
To make this quince-quinoa salad or side dish (yes, we love our q’s), we started with these pretty pineapple quince from Melissa’s Produce. After peeling and coring them, we gave the quince a sugary poaching bath to bring out their softer, sweeter side. Then we paired them with nutty quinoa, along with a few cashews, green onions, and dried cranberries for contrast, to create the ultimate fall side dish (or main dish if you like).
- 3 medium quince
- ½ cup sugar
- 2½ cups vegetable broth
- 8 oz. quinoa
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped cashews
- 4 green onions, roots removed, chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp. honey
- Salt to taste
- Prepare the quince: Peel, core, and coarsely chop the quince. In a large saucepan, bring four cups of water to a boil; add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the quince and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the quince for about 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and chop into smaller pieces if desired. Set aside.
- Prepare the quinoa: Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and the broth has been absorbed.
- Toss the quinoa with the prepared quince, cranberries, cashews, and green onions. Then prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and honey. Toss with the quinoa salad. Add salt to taste. Serve warm if desired; also may be chilled and served cold. (Note: If you want to serve it cold, leave out the cashews until the quinoa is out of the refrigerator and then toss in the cashews at the last minute.)
As noted in the recipe, this dish can be served hot or cold (or at room temperature, if you like). The only caution is that if you’re going to chill it, keep the cashews out until the salad is out of the fridge; then put the cashews in at the last minute (otherwise they will get soggy).
This recipe as written is vegan/vegetarian. But if you wanted, you could add grilled chicken, or crumbled feta, or even…dare we say… leftover turkey?
P.S. Like this post? Pin it! Looking for more quince ideas? Try this pretty quince tart!
Blogger disclosure: I received quince from Melissa’s Produce for sampling. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.