September 17, 2014

roasted kumara, beet and quinoa salad with an orange-tahini dressing

quinoa salad 028
quinoa salad 023
Things have been a little hectic this week as I prepare to leave for New Zealand next Tuesday.  In between the end of term school events/birthday parties/play dates and shopping for supplies for my men-folk who’ll be staying back, I’ve been trying to squeeze in the odd cuppa with friends, complete some sewing orders and prepare a few freezer meals on top of spring cleaning our home and of course pack.  It’s daft to be trying to do so much before I leave but I seem to work better under pressure and to be honest, I could do with the distraction.  It’s been a few years since I’ve travelled home and even longer since our youngest three were there so you can well imagine the excitement that is building.

When I know I have a busy schedule ahead of me I opt to keep our meals fairly light and simple and prepare what I can ahead of time.  This allows me to throw a salad, such as this one, together in mere minutes.  The thing I love about a salad like this is that it is a great base for other flavours and ingredients depending on what you have on hand.  Don’t be afraid to play around and make it your own.

Roasted kumara, beet and quinoa salad with an orange-tahini dressing – serves 2-3 as a main or 4-6 as a side

Ingredients: (salad)
1 cup quinoa
2 beetroot – peeled and chopped into cubes
1 medium kumara (sweet potato) peeled and chopped into cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
handful parsley – chopped finely
toasted walnuts – chopped roughly
1/2 cup of orange-tahini dressing

Ingredients: (dressing) – makes 3/4 cup
juice and zest of 1 orange (1/2 cup juice/2 tsp zest)
3 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp sweetener of choice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 180°.  Toss the cubed kumara and beets in oil and place on a baking tray.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and tender.
In a pot bring 2 cups of water to the boil.  Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under running water and leave to drain.  Once the water is boiling, add the quinoa to the pot, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the quinoa for approximately 12 minutes.  (Quinoa is cooked when it has swelled, becomes translucent and has a little tail sprout on the end of it)  Once cooked fluff up with a fork and set aside to cool.
Shake the dressing ingredients together in a jar until well combined and creamy.
Add the quinoa to a bowl with roasted veggies, chopped parsley, nuts and the dressing and toss gently to combine.

- left over dressing is delicious drizzled over porridge or a fresh fruit salad or stirred through greek yoghurt (if tolerated*)
- any roasted vegetables work well in a salad like this. zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant are particular favourites
- use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.  mint and coriander are a wonderful addition
- crumbed feta* rounds out the flavours beautifully
- substitute lemon for the orange for a more zesty dressing
- freshly grated ginger and chopped garlic give a lovely zing to the dressing as does ground cumin - use in 1 tsp amounts
- any lightly toasted nuts and seeds go well with salads like this
- serve on a bed of mixed salad leaves or wilted spinach/kale for a more substantial meal
- great side to bbq/grilled/roasted meat or salmon

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