Quinoa with Peppery Watercress, Pears, and Pomegranate


Alisa Fleming ~ Whole Foods is celebrating Thanksgiving with complete ready-to-go dinners and a bevy of Thanksgiving recipes for those of you who enjoy the chaos of cooking on the big day. In honor of the event, they have graciously shared a popular “everyone-friendly” quinoa side dish recipe.

Gluten-Free Quinoa Side Dish Recipe with Pears and Pomegranate

For those who forgo the bird, the extra little dose of protein in this quinoa side dish will be a welcome addition to your holiday table. However, if turkey is a tradition for your family, then you will love pairing it with the bright flavors of this recipe.

Talking Turkey

To note, all of Whole Foods Market’s turkeys are raised without antibiotics or animal byproducts in their feed. Plus, every turkey sold at Whole Foods Market comes from a farm that’s achieved certification to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating program. According to Whole Foods:

The 5-Step system sets base animal welfare standards for turkeys and helps shoppers know exactly what farm management and animal raising practices went into growing the bird for their dinner. At Step 1, turkeys must have ample space to move around, flap their wings, preen and dust bathe. As farms achieve higher ratings, the birds also have environmental enrichments (things to do!), more space indoors, and access to the outdoors where they can forage for insects and native vegetation. Turkeys on farms that have achieved a Step 5+ rating live their whole lives – enrichments, dust baths, foraging and all – on the same farm; they don’t even leave for processing.

Quinoa Side Dish Recipe Notes

Pomegranate juice can be pricey, but fresh pomegranates are in season throughout the cooler months. Since you don’t need much juice for this quinoa side dish, you can simply place some of the pomegranate arils in a baggie, close and crush to release the juices. Strain out the seeds to get the juice you need for this recipe.

For a twist on this recipe, replace the quinoa with millet, change up the vinegar with a seasonal selection (fig anyone?), or toss in spicy arugula in place of the delicate, but peppery watercress.

Quinoa with Peppery Watercress, Pears, and Pomegranate
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe shared with us for Thanksgiving by Whole Foods Market. The pears and pomegranate add bright seasonal flavors to this warm winter dish, while watercress adds a natural peppery contrast.
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems removed and leaves sliced (about 1-1/2 cups packed leaves)
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice (see note in post above)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold running water and drain.
  2. Combine the water and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl with the watercress, pear chunks, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, juice, and vinegar. Stir to combine, then serve.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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