Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad


What recipe has all the flavors of Thanksgiving without any of the foods that cause the bloating, weight gain, and general discomfort we usually associate with the post-Thanksgiving food coma that inevitably follows the day most Americans spend over-eating?

Ding, ding, ding, you guessed it! My Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, can help keep that uncomfortable bloating and indigestion far, far away. Granted, it depends what else you choose to eat, but one food choice at a time. It’s a big day.

A Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free Thanksgiving Recipe to Keep the Pounds Away

When we combine lots of different kinds of foods, eat foods we don’t normally eat, and take in more calories than normal (all of which is totally common on Thanksgiving), we create a perfect storm for bloating, indigestion, cramping, gas, numerous kinds of digestive distress. On top of it, many people eat excess amounts of wheat, sugar, and dairy, only to aggravate the already explosive situation. Talk about adding fuel to the fire. Not the prettiest way to end what is often a lovely day.

But it doesn’t have to go down, or come out that way. Your food could go down, digest and come out much more smoothly, without all of the digestive distress. Taking out some of the biggest offenders to digestive distress, wheat, gluten, dairy, and sugar, is a great place to start.

The good news? With a quinoa stuffing or side dish like this one, with so much Thanksgiving flavor, you won’t miss the wheat, gluten, dairy, or sugar. In fact, when you feel better after you eat, I think you’ll have no problem flushing all that stuff down the toilet, along with the digestive distress it causes.

Holidays don’t have to equal weight gain, bloating, and tight clothes. It’s all in the choices we make. Let go of the foods that cause the bloating and weight gain, and start making recipes that use foods that are kind to your body. You deserve it!

I hope you all enjoy a heart-filling day with family and friends. Remember to be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else. With deepest gratitude for this day, and every day, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad Recipe

Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Wheat-free, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free Option

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: About 6 Cups
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups less 2 TBS water
  • 2 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 2 cups shaved brussels sprouts (I buy the Trader Joe's bag)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (if allergic to nuts, use pumpkin seeds)
  • 6 TBS dried cranberries, apple juice sweetened (I love Eden brand)
  • 2 TBS fresh mint, minced
  • 1 TBS fresh parsley, minced
  • ¼ cup cranberry dressing (recipe below)
  • coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional: zest of one orange (if you want more orange flavor add orange zest directly to the salad when tossing.
Cook the Quinoa
  1. Bring the water and orange juice to a boil. Add a pinch of coarse salt.
  2. Add rinsed quinoa and stir. Cover and reduce to a simmer.
  3. Cook covered for 14 minutes, then add shaved brussels sprouts.
  4. Cook for 3-4 more minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Brussels should be cooked through, but still have a little bite to them.
  5. Then turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes covered. Remove cover and fluff with a fork.
While Quinoa Cooks
  1. Chop walnuts and toast at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes or until brown.
  2. Mince mint and parsley.
  3. Make Cranberry Dressing (see recipe below).
Put it Together
  1. Toss warm quinoa with cranberries, walnuts, minced herbs, and about 6 TBS of Cranberry Dressing (add dressing to your taste). Add orange zest if using.
  2. Adjust seasoning with coarse salt (I prefer sea salt) and black pepper to taste.
  3. Lightly stir and serve.
  4. Serve warm or room temperature.
Copyright: Angela Marinelli, M.S., M.Ed., Nourishment Connection 2014

Cranberry Dressing Recipe

Cranberry Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Serves: Makes about 1 cup
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS fresh orange juice
  • 1/ 3 cup dried cranberries, apple juice sweetened
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley
  • 2 TBS fresh mint
  • zest of half an orange
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  1. Put all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor and whiz until blended.
  2. With the machine off, scrape down the sides.
  3. Turn back on and add extra virgin olive oil in a slow steady stream.
  4. Blend until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Copyright: Angela Marinelli, M.S., M.Ed., Nourishment Connection 2014


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