Hi there and welcome! For those who might not know me, my name is Carmela, the chef/owner of Senza Glutine by Carmela.  I know this year has been very challenging and stressful for all of us, but hopefully a better and healthier new year will soon be here!
This time of year is very busy for me.  I do a lot of catering and last minute holiday markets while at same time trying to get ready for our Christmas celebration.  As Italians, our celebrations revolve around a table filled with lots of delicious food and as many generations as will fit.  I always think of recipes that are simple and delicious, but easy to prepare.
With this in mind, my quinoa salad is a perfect solution.  It’s very tasty and so healthy for you!  You can always adjust this recipe to include ingredients to your liking like I do.
Apple-Cranberry Quinoa Salad
2 ½ cups water
¼ tsp of salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 ¼ cups quinoa
1/3 cup cranberries
2 medium tomatoes, diced small
1 medium red onion, diced small 
1/2 cup Granny Smith apples, diced medium
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup chopped fresh mint, chiffonade
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon of fresh basil, chiffonade
½ orange zest plus the juice
½ lemon zest plus the juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, add the oil and the salt.  Place quinoa, in the boiling water, stir.  Cover, let simmer for 15-18 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir with a fork. Add the dry cranberries, mix. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To quinoa add the diced tomatoes, onion and apples in a large bowl.  Stir in cooled quinoa.  Season with mint, parsley, basil, lemon and orange zest plus the juices, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Chill 2- 3  hours before serving. Garnish the salad with toasted sliced almonds.
For best flavor, prepare the salad the day before.
Makes 6 servings.
Variations: Roasted Diced Butternut Squash, Edamame, Diced Bosc Pears, Cucumber