Charoset Quinoa: A simple Passover side that takes its inspiration straight from the Seder plate

Julia Turshen’s fruit, nut and grain-filled salad will fit right in with the mains on your menu.

Julia Turshen’s fruit, nut and grain-filled salad will fit right in with the mains on your menu

(Photography by David Loftus)

Whether you’ve hosted Passover Seder for as long as you can remember, or have only attended as a guest until now, you’ve probably collected at least a few crowd-pleasing recipes that absolutely must make the menu each year. And while we’d never want to take anything away from those perennial faves, we think this simple grain salad from Julia Turshen’s cookbook Now & Again is just the dish to infuse some new life into the annual meal. Inspired by the Seder plate fixture, Turshen’s recipe wraps all the ingredients of charoset into a hearty mixture that can be prepared days ahead of your dinner. It’s also the type of side that can easily be doubled (or tripled!) depending on the size of your gathering — a real win for any event where the guest list is in flux.

Charoset Quinoa

By Julia Turshen

This quinoa side dish has all the flavors of charoset, the mixture of apples, wine, and nuts that is a traditional part of the Seder plate. It’s especially perfect for Passover since it doesn’t include anything leavened. I also love it because you can serve it at room temperature, which means you can absolutely make it in advance.


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 crisp apples (such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith), cored and finely diced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • A small handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves (a little bit of stem is fine!), finely chopped


Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve (this may sound like an annoying step, but don’t skip it; quinoa has a natural coating that tastes soapy). Put the rinsed quinoa into a medium saucepan with 3½ cups water and 2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, softened, and each grain has “spiraled,” about 12 minutes.

Transfer the quinoa to a large sheet pan and use a spoon to spread it out. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar, wine, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the raisins, apples, and a large pinch of salt and stir well to combine. Cover and let the mixture sit until it cools to room temperature.

Next, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the walnuts and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the nuts are dark brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the raisins and apples and their liquid, the walnuts and all of their fragrant oil, and the parsley to the quinoa and stir well. Season the mixture to taste with salt. Serve the quinoa immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day before serving (bring to room temperature, then taste and adjust with salt if needed).

Excerpted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen. Photography by David Loftus. Recipes Copyright © 2018. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 8 servings


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