Happy New Year everyone!
This quinoa salad fed 20 people on New Years Eve – and we’ve been eating leftovers ever since. The plan was to create a salad that consisted of Christmassy colours and lots of flavour. We brainstormed lots of red and green ingredients that would work well together: dark green kale and pale green pistachios and peas, the deep red of the tart cranberries with the sweetness of the pomegranate arils. Making this salad felt a bit like decorating the christmas tree, but without the step-ladder. The citrus dressing kept everything looking and tasting fresh right up until we ate the last mouthful yesterday! It would be a good salad to make ahead and keep you going all week. The nuts and quinoa will keep you going for hours. The separate components to the salad make it a little fiddly and time consuming so it’s worth making lots to keep in the fridge. You’ll have quinoa to cook, kale to massage, cranberries to roast and lots to chop, but it’s all totally worth it! I made enough of this salad to feed a few small armies and didn’t take a lot of notice of the measurements I used. The amounts are really a guideline and you’ll notice mine are not very exact. Feel free to adjust it to how you prefer – for example add more kale for a greener/more salady dish. We served this with a mega tagine so it was quite quinoa-full. This recipe has been adjusted to feed about 4-6 people.
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (if you can’t find any just throw 1/4 cup dried ones in)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp honey/agave
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup quinoa (a mixture of white and red looks nice but any will do!)
4 large handfuls of kale
1 red onion, finely sliced
juice of half a lemon
1 red pepper, chopped into 1cm cubes
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 a pomegranate
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey/agave
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper to taste
Start by roasting the cranberries; toss them in the coconut oil and honey and spread on one half of a large baking tray. On the other half scatter the nuts. Cook them for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries are wrinkled and the nuts smell toasted. Take the baking tray out and let the cranberries cool in a small colander catching the juices that drip out in a cup below – you can use this in the dressing. Leave the nuts to cool in the tray.
Rinse the quinoa then cook it in a saucepan on medium heat with 2 cups of water. Once it is fluffy, take it off the heat and set aside.
Chop the kale roughly removing the stalks and mix it in a bowl with the red onion. Massage it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Massaging kale will break it down, making it easier to chew and digest. If you’ve ever tried eating raw kale, you may know that it involves quite a workout for your jaw. As you massage the kale you will see it turn a more vibrant green and start to wilt. Kale is tough and unlike other leafy greens won’t go mushy after its massaged and wilted. (It can last well for about a week after its rubdown.)
Once the nuts and cranberries have cooled completely add them to the kale mixture with the peas and red pepper.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together with any juices you have caught from the cranberries. Finely chop the mint and parsley and mix into the quinoa with the dressing, the quinoa will soak up a lot of that flavour. Finally – mix all the kale and veggies with the quinoa and sprinkle the pomegranate arils over the top with a few mint leaves before serving.