Tag Archives: dressing

Roasted Squash, Red Onion and Quinoa Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

4 Jan

This little squash growing on the ground on one of the farms where we walk the dog was the inspiration for a quinoa (keen-wah) salad I made for lunch yesterday. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. It is so highly regarded because of its nutritional value, having a high protein content, essential amino acids and fibre. 

This is the first time I have cooked with Quinoa. After all the indulgence over Christmas this is my attempt at healthy eating. I roasted the squash & red onion the night before for dinner and had some left over to put in this salad. Make sure you season the quinoa well it soaks up lots of flavour…

Roasted Squash, Red Onion & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

serves 3 or 4, vegetarian

  • 1/3 squash or pumpkin about 500 gr cut into 1 cm dice
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into eighths (wedges)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa about 200 gr
  • 1 cup water 250 ml
  • 1 cup veg stock 250 ml
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful of chopped pistachios (I used walnuts but pistachios would be better)
  • a handful of sultanas

For the dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 0r 3 tbsp tahini
  • the juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp hot water from the kettle (maybe more)
  • 1/ tsp salt

First roast the vegetables. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the squash cubes & red onion wedges on a lined baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil & balsamic vinegar, sprinkle over the salt, pepper, chilli flakes & rosemary and toss together with your hands to coat the veg. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until the squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven & leave to cool.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa. Put the quinoa, water, veg stock, salt & pepper in a medium saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed about 15 minutes. You may need to add more liquid. It is done when you can see the curly swirl in each grain. Fluff up with a fork, leave to cool and toss with the squash, onions, pistachios & sultanas. Check for seasoning.

Make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, zest & olive oil. Add the hot water & salt and continue whisking until you get the desired consistency. Add more hot water/oil/lemon juice if you need to. Pour half of the dressing over the quinoa salad and mix to coat evenly.

Serve the salad at room temperature with some extra tahini dressing on the side….. You could also crumble over some feta or goat’s cheese for extra flavour.

Enjoy!

  

  

 

Avocado “Caesar” Salad with parmesan croutons

3 Jan

Sometimes inspiration for lunch is staring you right in the face. This is what we saw growing today while walking the dog…

Rows and rows of beautiful bright green lettuces growing next to avocado trees….

Some avocados were just lying on the ground so I had to rescue one. They would rot otherwise. I bought the lettuce though. I bought some lettuce hearts or little gems as they are sometimes called. An original Caesar salad is made with Cos or Romaine lettuce. The smooth avocado is the perfect contrast in texture to the crunchy juicy lettuce and the parmesan croutons have to be big. Don’t bother with those bags of smelly centimetre cubes you can buy. Homemade croutons taste so much better…

This is my vegetarian interpretation of a Caesar dressing. It doesn’t have any anchovies in it but feel free to add a couple if you like that sort of thing. You  could also make your own mayonnaise, this is my quick, cheat version using good store-bought mayonnaise.

Avocado “Caesar” Salad with Parmesan Croutons

serves 2 vegetarian

For the croutons:

  • about 10 cm of a baguette or other rustic bread cut in to 2cm cubes
  • 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • finely grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium high heat. Throw in the bread cubes/chunks and fry until browned on all sides (about 2 or 3 minutes). Line a bowl with kitchen paper, put the cooked croutons in the bowl, sprinkle with salt, black pepper & finely grated parmesan. Shake them around a bit to coat them in parmesan and set aside. They are best served immediately but can be kept in an airtight container for a couple of  days.

For the Salad & Dressing:

  • 1/2 a large avocado
  • 2 little gems or lettuce hearts
  • some shaved parmesan
  • 3 heaped tbsp good mayonnaise
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 or 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 or 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • parmesan croutons (see above)

To make the dressing put the mayo, lemon juice & parmesan in a bowl and blend with a stick blender or balloon whisk. Slowly trickle in the olive oil while blending or whisking until you reach the desired consistency. I like it quite thick. Taste it and add more lemon juice/parmesan/olive oil to your taste. When you are happy with your dressing cut the core end off the lettuce hearts then cut them lengthways into quarters/wedges. scoop out the avocado and slice it lengthways. Lay the lettuce wedges on your plate and place the avocado slices in between. Drizzle a good amount of the dressing all over the letuce wedges with a spoon, top with the croutons and shave over some fresh parmesan.

Enjoy!

From Tree To Table

19 Sep

 

Pomegranate Tree

  This morning, while walking the dog, we picked a few early pomegranates which are just beginning to ripen.  Already starting to think about lunch and how we could incorporate them.   

Then while walking past the goats & getting that unmistakable smell it reminded me of a goats cheese, pomegranate & hazelnut salad I had seen in the Flavour book by Vicky Bhogal. The only thing was that this salad had a blueberry dressing & blueberries are really difficult to get hold of here.   

Rufus on his Walk

Those Smelly Goats

Freshly Picked Pomegranates

So the only other fruit I had in my fridge was some papaguayos which are  a similar to a peach & really juicy. I was happy with the pomegranate, goats cheese & peach combo as it had that Arabian flavour I was looking for so I decided to add some orange flower water to the dressing along with black pepper & fresh coriander…    

Grilled Goats Cheese & Pomegranate Salad Recipe  

Serves 2 Vegetarian 

  • 1 small roll goats cheese (with rind)
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 2 Peaches chopped
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • 1 handful hazelnuts (toasted in a dry pan)
  • 4 slices of country bread (or ciabatta) sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic chopped
  • 2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp  sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • 1 dsp miel de cana * (or honey)
  • salt & lots of black pepper
  • handful of fresh coriander chopped ( Plus extra sprigs for garnish) 

*Miel de Cana is a cane sugar honey produced in Malaga. It has a flavour similar to maple syrup & is great in salad dressings & drizzled over fried aubergines. 

  1. Put the shallot in the pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and the crushed garlic, stir & fry for a minute or so to soften.
  2. Tumble in the peaches (keep a handful back to put through the salad) with the vinegar, sugar, flower water, miel de cana, ground coriander & ground black pepper.
  3. Stir & leave to stew on a low heat for about 10 mins.
  4. Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally through the middle, hold the cut side over a bowl & hit the back of it with a wooden spoon until all the jewel like seeds tumble out. (Half may be enough for 2 people).
  5. Put the grill on to heat up & toast the pieces of ciabatta on 1 side
  6. Cut the goats cheese into 8 slices & place them on the untoasted side of the bread(2 slices per piece of bread).
  7. Meanwhile blitz the peach mixture with a stick blender adding olive oil to achieve the required consistency.(It should be like runny jam).
  8. Then add salt, more black pepper & fresh coriander, blitz again.
  9. Put the goats cheese toasts under the grill for about 3 minutes until bubbling & brown.
  10. Dress the rocket & chopped peaches with olive oil & sherry vinegar, salt & pepper.
  11. Put the toasts on top of the rocket, spoon over some of the peach dressing, sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts & finally rain on the pomegranate seeds.

Eat & enjoy the flavours & textures in this exotic salad!! 

Grilled Goats Cheese & Pomegranate Salad

        
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