Herbed Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad

I was extremely astonished by the availability of fresh food in Israel. Every time we went down to the table, our gracious hosts covered every possible square inch with foods to try. I, of course, couldn’t let one pass me by, so I always left the table feeling totally stuffed and extremely spoilt.

In those stomach-clutching moments, I day-dreamed about going home to a simple quinoa salad and a glass of wine. The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

Honest to goodness, the dishes passed by so swiftly that I hardly had an opportunity to scrutinize one before the next arrived. I had planned to come home with a big list of foods to duplicate, but I’m left mostly with vague, game-changing impressions of flavors, colors, smells and sights. It was a whirlwind of a journey and a truly fantastic experience.

Today, I thought I’d offer a quinoa salad approximately inspired by my time in Israel. I’m tossing in a few photographs to go along with it. The salad is based on a recipe that Jessa recited to me from memory. Jessa is the one caressing the donkey in the photo below. She’s a brilliant, stylish, active lady who can tell you all about baking and fermentation and eco-friendly home-building materials.

I couldn’t resist adding additional herbs and almonds, then some pomegranate and a splash of warming cinnamon, to satiate my post-Israel vacation taste sensibilities. Please feel free to change the ingredients to suit your preferences—maybe you don’t like olives (leave them out) or you’re seeking some creaminess (include crumbled goat cheese or feta) (add crumbled goat cheese or feta). Maybe you’ll want to finish off the meal with another dash of luscious olive oil. Go for it!

quinoa, herb and pomegranate salad

I should mention that my entire trip to Israel was covered by Kinetis/Vibe Israel, a non-profit group that hosts small groups of media professionals at a time and shows them around the country. My group (consisting of Ben and Jessa, Lee and Emily) was focused on wellness. I found the experience to be totally inspiring and I genuinely want to share it with you guys. Opinions are mine, of course, and I’m not receiving any compensation for my time or promotion.

ALso read: Simple Beet, Arugula and Feta Salad with Hilary’s Balsamic Thyme Dressing

I took the mountain scene photo on the grounds of the Ein Gedi Spa near the Dead Sea, the fruit at Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, the pomegranate in the backyard of former basketball player/cancer survivor Doron Sheffer in Amirim, the donkey at the home of vegan chef Hagit Lidror in Klil, and the vegan feast at Green Village Restaurant in Tel Aviv. I bought the beautiful blue bowl at Kibbutz Harduf, a community that rehabilitates those with special needs through therapy, crafts and organic farming in lower Galilee. Check out Lee’s trip summary post for a better play by play of our Israel experience!





  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ⅓ cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced Kalamata olives (and/or ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta)


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about two medium lemons, juiced)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Several twists of freshly ground black pepper


  1. To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess water and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. To toast the almonds: In a small skillet, heat the almonds over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and turning golden on the edges. Don’t let them burn! Transfer toasted almonds to your serving bowl to cool.
  3. To prepare the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Final assembly: In your serving bowl, in addition to the almonds, combine the quinoa, chopped mint and parsley, pomegranate, cranberries and olives or cheese. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Taste and mix in additional salt, pepper and/or olive oil if necessary. Serve right away or refrigerate for later.