We were recently invited by friends to a BBQ and they wondered what they could cook me to eat. As usual, I advised I’d bring a couple of salads and some fresh fruit which everyone could enjoy. To be fair, they did grill some courgettes (zucchini) and bake some potates so I wouldn’t have gone completely hungry, plus my friend made the most divine “raw” vegan cake for dessert. Which reminds me, I must chase her up for the recipe.
Luckily for me the other guests were either not too enamoured of salad, or preferred to sink their teeth into the mound of cooked meats and sausages! This meant unusually I had some to bring home for the next few days – excellent news!
The first salad really doesn’t require a recipe. Thinly shave 1kg (2lbs) raw courgettes (zucchini) into a bowl, toss with the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon then add a handful of chopped basil, 5 tbsp virgin olive oil, seasoning to taste and voilà you have a deliciously fresh salad. How easy was that?
Ingredients – Quinoa Salad (serves 8-12)
- 350g (2 cups) uncooked quinoa
- 750ml (3 cups) filtered water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 300g (8 cups) baby kale, stripped from stem and roughly chopped
- 220g (1 cup) chopped pecans
- 125g (1/2 cup) chopped dried cranberries
- 2 medium apples peeled, cored, diced and tossed in freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 80ml (1/3 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 240ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 80ml (1/3 cup) filtered water (optional)
- 1 tsp runny honey
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 fat clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Soak and rinse the quinoa before cooking in a small saucepan, with water and salt. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook covered until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid – about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then fluff up with a fork.
2. While the quinoa is soaking prepare and chop all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
3. Whisk or (preferable) wizz all the vinagrette ingredients together in a liquidiser. Check seasoning.
4. Once the quinoa is cooler add it to salad bowl along with vinagrette and toss together to combine. Check seasoning.
5. Allow the flavours of the salad to combine, the kale to soften and the vinagrette to be absorbed before serving (1-2 hours in the fridge).
6. This salad will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for 4-5 days.
Sheree’s Handy Hints
1. You can substitute the quinoa with something like bulgar wheat, couscous or even lentils.
2. Likewise the pecans can be swapped for walnuts and the cranberries with raisins. Work with what you have to hand.
3. Serve it with orange rather than lemon vinaigrette.
4. TBH, most salads don’t really require a recipe, just ingredients and imagination. Combine stuff that you have in the fridge, garden and cupboards for a refreshing side dish or main meal. What about juicy melon, salami, black olives, freshly ground black pepper and fresh herbs. Or that Italian classic, but with the volume turned up by using burrata rather than mozzarella, mixed chopped tomatoes, black olives, basil and a drizzle of virgin olive oil. Feta cheese with watermelon and mint. Tomato salad with croutons, tabouleh………the possibilities are endless. Try to have an array of colours and textures.