Pomegranate, Plum + Quinoa Salad

Ohhhhh franz. I love working at the olive oil shop, but it has been one long crash-course in packed lunches. What is a good packed lunch? What is a bad packed lunch? In-store we have a toaster oven but not a microwave, a fridge but no coffee pot.
The schedule is such that I can take my lunch break at any point in the day but I can't actually leave the premises which means that I get to figure out things-that-can-be-eaten cold to bring for lunch. This salad got created both as a means to (originally) use up some persimmons I had in the fridge and to solve the age-old problem of "Can It Be Enjoyed Cold?" I've always liked quinoa but my love for it has expanded with my need for it - when there is a protein-packed, filling food source that doesn't require reheating to taste good, you swear fealty. All hail Quinoa, Queen of the Ancient Grains and Savior of Starving Shop-Girls. In addition to being delicious and pack-able, this pomegranate, plum & quinoa salad is also really beautiful. We've discussed my long love-affair with the edible gems we call "pomegranate arils." To toss a handful of rubies with translucent slices of golden plum - so much like amber sea glass that you're forgiven if you confuse the two - seems a decadent overreach of good sense. But the combination is made approachable with its generous heft of peasant cilantro and bourgeoisie olive oil and you find yourself thinking, "when can I do this again?" A note on the balsamic vinegar - regular white balsamic will be wonderful in this recipe, but I like to use flavorful balsamic, like peach or raspberry. It's not necessary but it adds even more levels to the flavor.

Pomegranate, Plum, & Quinoa Salad
serves about four

1 diced apple
2 diced black plums
1 c. pomegranate arils
1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
1 chopped green onion
1/4 cup high-quality olive oil
3 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar 
1 Tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups cooked quinoa (I like to simmer mine in a mix of water and chicken broth with two bay leaves)

  1. Toss all ingredients except quinoa together - if packing, store the "salad" separately.
  2. Assemble either by tossing quinoa with salad or spooning salad over formed quinoa - drizzle with some of the sauce and serve immediately.

Maybe the best part about this recipe (besides the way it looks) is the fact that it takes all of about ten minutes to throw together before you leave for work, or before bed the previous night. I'm interested to know if all cold, packed lunches will turn out this tasty. I feel like the odds are against me, but you never can tell. I want to hear all your ideas for healthy, packed lunches - especially the ones that can be eaten cold! Also, just for fun I'm going to start featuring a fun song in some of my posts - just something I think can't help but be a good idea to turn on while you're chopping your veggies and whisking your dressing. Today's is "I Could Write a Book" by Harry Connick Jr, evidently featured in When Harry Met Sally. I've never seen When Harry Met Sally. I know the song because Harry Connick Jr. is straight up the best voice for Christmas music ever, maybe excepting Bing Crosby. Fight me on this.


  1. That sounds so tasty! No coffee pot though? Horrors! Maybe we can get you set up with a pour over? ;)

    For cold lunches, chia seed pudding can be good, maybe add some nuts to boost the protein? You could probably swirl in some nut butter even if you want to get really fancy. ;) I often pack my leftovers as salads, just chop the meat and drop whatever veggie and meat are left onto some greens. Ready to go in the morning! I'll be thinking if there are any others.

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