Turkey Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Mojito Dressing

by Kelly on June 20, 2011

Turkey Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Mojito Dressing-1
I was starting to think that summer was never coming to Chicago, but thankfully this weekend changed all that.  Warm weather and sunshine turned up unexpectedly.  So Oliver and I celebrated with a REALLY long walk that culminated in a visit to the dog park for him and later, a light and refreshing dinner for me.  And since the US Highbush Blueberry Council had challenged bloggers to create a blueberry recipe, I knew I wanted to incorporate blueberries in some way.  I already love cooking with them so they really didn’t need to twist my arm to participate.

Turkey Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Mojito Dressing-3My muse was one of my favorite summertime cocktails- the blueberry mojito.  I turned it into a fresh and lightly sweet dressing for a quinoa salad.  Made from fresh blueberries simmered in champagne vinegar and white rum and then blended with fresh mint, honey, lime juice, olive oil, mustard and a bit of water, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.  It also has a gorgeous deep purple hue that lightly stains the quinoa.  But best off when tossed with cooked quinoa, turkey breast, cucumber, scallion, and dried blueberries it makes for a lusciously flavored salad.  Especially when topped with tangy crumbles of goat cheese and crunchy pistachios.  I’m already daydreaming of leftovers.

And don’t worry if you don’t have all of these ingredients on hand because it’s quite versatile.  Swap out the turkey for cooked chicken breast.  Or try feta in place of goat cheese.  You could even do fresh blueberries in place of dried, but double the amount and toss gently.  But regardless of whether you make it as is or switch it up I couldn’t recommend this salad more highly.  I’m already thinking it might be my new summer picnic favorite.

Turkey Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Mojito Dressing-2

Turkey Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Mojito Dressing
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Dressing
-1/4 cup champagne vinegar
-1 tablespoon white rum
-1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
-1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
-2 tablespoons honey
-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about the juice of one lime)
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon water
-Salt and pepper to taste

Salad
-2 cups cooked quinoa
-1 cup cubed roasted turkey breast (about a quarter pound)
-1 cup cubed cucumber
-2 tablespoons minced scallions (light green and white parts)
-1/4 cup dried blueberries
-1/4 cup shelled dry roasted and salted pistachios
-1/4 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer the vinegar, rum, and blueberries until the blueberries have broken down, about 7 to 8 minutes.

To a blender, add the blueberry mixture, mint leaves, honey, lime juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and water. Blend until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the quinoa through pistachios. Add the dressing, tossing gently until well combined. Gently fold in goat cheese.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Maris (In Good Taste) June 20, 2011 at 7:04 am

As if this delicious salad weren’t enough, the dressing puts it over the top!!!

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Lauren June 20, 2011 at 9:25 am

I’m all about berries right now, and this salad sounds like a fantastic way to enjoy the blue variety ;) . I love that you photographed it in a Ball jar – beautiful!

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Charissa - The Gifted Blog June 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Beautiful photos. We just got several packs of blueberries from our CSA and am really enjoying them!

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Shannon June 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

fabulous. love everything about it :)

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RebeccaC June 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Ok so normally I don’t like berries in my salads when a protien Luke turkey or chicken is involved (like those berry/chicken salads that a lot of chain restaurants do). But I am so intrigued by this dressing and the quinoa. Not to mention obsessed with blueberries. Will have to give it a try!

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Kelly June 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Maris – Thank you. The dressing really is fantastic. Like the cocktail, but in vinaigrette form. :-)

Lauren – Thank you. Yeah I am addicted to ball jars these days. The simple presentation seems just perfect for summre.

Charissa & Shannon thanks. :-)

Rebecca – I hear you. For some reason, dried berries are the exception for me. I’m not a huge fan of salads with fresh berries, but dried cherries, strawberries, and blueberries in salads absolutely do it for me.

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Kelly June 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

This is such a wonderful salad (love quinoa) and your blueberry mojito dressing is inventive and beautiful. Your photos are stunning too!

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Carolyn Jung June 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Beautiful photos. I bet turkey would go great with blueberries. After all, it’s a winner with cranberries at Thanksgiving. ;)

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Sues June 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

What a great idea! I’ve been adding blueberries to everything lately and love the idea of a blueberry mojito dressing :)

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Elina (Healthy and Sane) June 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Mmm, blueberry mojitos! Oh wait, we were talking salads, right? ;)
This looks like a fantastic summer bbq contribution! And yay for summer in Chicago. Boston finally got the memo too. lol

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Cara July 6, 2011 at 9:47 am

What a fantastic dressing – love the fresh flavors!

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