- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cups quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups dried cherries
- Crush saffron, if using, with the handle of a wooden spoon (or crush between your fingers) in a small bowl until a powder forms. Add 1 Tbsp. hot water. Swirl gently; set aside to steep.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add almonds, cinnamon, cayenne, and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer almonds to a small bowl; reserve oil in pot.
- Heat oil in pot over medium-high. Add onion and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 1 1/2 tsp. salt, reduce heat to medium, and cook until onion is light brown and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa and cook, tossing to coat, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 1–2 minutes.
- Stir in 4 cups water, cover pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is cooked and water is absorbed, 20–30 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle cherries over, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.
- Transfer 2 cups quinoa mixture to a medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup toasted almonds, then toss remaining almonds with remaining quinoa mixture and transfer to a platter. Toss quinoa in bowl with saffron water until coated, then garnish platter with saffron quinoa. Top with remaining toasted almonds
Quinoa, with cherries, can be cooked 3 days ahead. Transfer to a resealable container and chill. Reheat over low on stovetop or in a 300°F oven until warmed.