GNI Feature: Minted Cranberry & Pecan Quinoa salad!

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Just a little sweet but mostly fresh!

While many of us in Winnipeg (and elsewhere) are preparing for the fall season, I’m still planing to savor every bit that is left of summer. Over the next week, I’m hoping to wrap up the “girls night in” feature by sharing just a few more recipes. This particular quinoa salad is extremely simple to make and can easily be prepared the night before, allowing the flavors to mingle and marinade the quinoa. If you are hoping to prep this in advance, I highly suggest adding the pecans just before serving time.

Similar to when I shared the Almond Crusted Salmon recipe, this dish also makes use of an amazing sauce produced by my friend Peter Fehr of Gourmet Inspirations. I specifically used the Strawberry Balsamic with Basil sauce for this recipe and it added an extra richness and flavor to the end result. I don’t often source convenience food items, but when hosting calls for multitasking I’m all for local handcrafted food items that make little use of preservatives and this sauce fits the bill!

Okay, okay, enter drum-roll. The recipe below – and, a huge *thank you* to my friend Peter for contributing to my fun #gni!

Minted Quinoa & Cranberry Pecan Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • Garnish: handful of mint, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • Juice from 1 whole lime
  • ⅓ cup Gourmet Inspirations "Strawberry Balsamic with Basil" sauce
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Cook quinoa as directed ensuring you've rinsed the quinoa beforehand (rinsing your quinoa is a must!) and allow it to cool.
  2. Mix in pecan halves, cranberries, raisins and mint. Set aside.
  3. To make the dressing: Juice lime and add strawberry sauce.
  4. Season with onion powder and black pepper.
  5. Add desired amount of dressing to salad. Dressing will keep in fridge for up to 1 month.

 Here’s a few more snippets of my “girls night in” — photos captured by the amazingly talented team at Samba Joy Photo & Art.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and CakeCnC_Quinoa_Saucep.s. If you haven’t already checked it out, this is a short snippet of what my #gni looked like. Enjoy!



                 – With Love, Carrots and Cake,

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda

We all know pumpkins are seasonal in the fall, but when you’re craving that rich flavor with hints of cinnamon, it’s hard to resist baking a batch of muffins that feature this squash. These Pumpkin Pecan Muffins are moist and taste best when served fresh. Don’t be alarmed by the ratio of whole wheat flour to all purpose flour. The muffins don’t come out dense; instead, they are light and fluffy. If you’re whipping up a batch of these feel free to add in dried cranberries instead or even a handful of dark chocolate chips. Have fun with it, and own it!

Oh and a tip…

Sour milk can be used instead of buttermilk. To prepare, combine 2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup (250 mL) milk and let stand for 5 minutes. See, I gotchu’ covered. And what’s even better? These muffins freeze really well, SO double up! 

Recipe was adapted from this Pumpkin Raisin Muffin.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Pecan Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: as many or as few as you'd like
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ½ can (7 oz/200 mL) pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see tip below)
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and raisins
  3. In a separate bowl, blend together pumpkin, oil, buttermilk and eggs.
  4. Make a large well in center of dry ingredients; pour in wet ingredients all at once. Gently fold together until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin lightly with brown sugar.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Nita Sharda, Carrots and Cake

Yeah, that’s real butter.

Recipe adapted from Dietitian’s of Canada website:

Carrots and Cake Nita Sharda