• 1-1/2 cups quinoa, preferably red
• Sea salt
• 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
• 1 small red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
• 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
• 4 oz. arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
• 4 oz. aged Gouda, finely diced (about 1 cup)
• 3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
• 1 large, crisp apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup finely diced fennel
• 3/4 cup dried cranberries
• 3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
• Freshly ground black pepper
DirectionsIn a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water, rubbing it to clean. Drain and transfer it to a 3-quart pot.
Add 2-1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender but still delicately crunchy, about 15 minutes.
Drain the quinoa and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.
While the quinoa cooks, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, walnuts, fennel, and cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Let rest a moment; then season to taste with salt and pepper.