Incorporate Quinoa To Tastefully Bulk Up Fruit Salad

A relative of amaranth, quinoa is an ancient grain and American cultivar that has gained global notoriety as a superfood. While many popular recipes elaborate quinoa with savory or salty ingredients, it also tastes wonderful as a hearty and nutritious addition to a fruit salad. 

In her quinoa fruit salad, Tasting Table recipe developer Susan Olayinka mixes berries and mango with a honey-lime drizzle, explaining that the addition of quinoa makes this dish a well-rounded breakfast, with protein to fill you up, carbs to fuel your day, and vitamins and minerals for an added health boost.

Quinoa has a mild flavor with grassy and nutty notes that are easily overpowered by sauces, seasonings, and dressings. It'll thus absorb sweet and tangy fruit juices, providing texture and substance without affecting the flavor of your fruit. Quinoa's use as a protein-packed substitute for oatmeal or cream of wheat in breakfast porridge demonstrates a disposition for sweet pairings.

Quinoa fruit salad varieties

Quinoa's mild flavor and crunchy chew will go well with starchy fruits like bananas, crisp fruits like apples, and watery fruits like cantaloupe or citrus. Plus, it takes only 15 minutes to cook quinoa, giving you the perfect window to chop your fruit. You can add it warm with cinnamon and nuts over chopped pears and apples for a healthy take on a fall-inspired crumble.

You could honor all the American ancient grains and provide a wonderful textural contrast by using equal parts cooked quinoa, crunchy chia seeds, and airy amaranth to a tropical fruit salad with chunks of papaya, mango, banana, and dragon fruit. Another way to spruce up quinoa's texture in a fruit salad is to top it with shredded coconut or chopped nuts.

If you're using low-sugar fruits like grapefruit or berries, liquid sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup are all great options. You could also sprinkle sugar over your fruit salad and let it macerate before topping it with quinoa. Better yet, you can sweeten the quinoa directly by adding sugar to its cooking liquid. Before cooking quinoa, you'll need to rinse the grains to rid them of a notoriously bitter component called saponin that coats the raw seeds.