Quinoa Celery Apple/Pear Salad

Need a delicious salad for the holidays? This salad, with its colorful dried cranberries and celery, is perfect for the holiday season and has a tang that your friends and family will rave about. Packed with nutrition, quinoa makes this salad a healthy winner!
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Ingredients

4 cups quinoa, cooked (1 1/2 cup uncooked) 2/3 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar 4 cups thinly, diagonally sliced celery 2 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 red apple or pear, cored and diced sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds (use the juice from the pomegranate to soak the cut pears) and/or mandarin oranges (optional) 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoons black pepper 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1) Combine dried cranberries or golden raisins with vinegar in a microwave safe bowl; microwave 1 minute and 15 seconds or until cranberries or raisins are plump. Drain cranberries in a colander over medium bowl, reserving 3 tablespoons vinegar. Discard remaining vinegar.
2) Combine cranberries or raisins, celery, parsley and optional ingredients in a large bowl.
3) Add salt and pepper to reserved vinegar, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with the whisk. Add cut apples or pears (be sure to drain first if you soaked them in pomegranate juice) and drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (not absolutely necessary).
4) Rinse uncooked quinoa with water (if not already pre-rinsed) and cook per package instructions. Toss salad with the cooked quinoa and sunflower or pomegranate seeds (optional) just before serving. Delicious!