As winter begins to set in (for those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere), I am sure that I am one of many whose appetites change towards more hot food, and away from cold salads and fresh vegetables. But I do have a few salads that work well in the winter because they are a little heavier than their summery counterparts, but are still healthy and a great accompanied to any hot dish.
When I discovered quinoa a few years ago, I was an instant convert. I’ve never been a huge fan of bulgar wheat, so I rarely made the heartier bulgar-based salads as a result. Quinoa changed all this for me. After experimenting with it, I decided to combine it with roasted and fresh veggies to make a salad with tons of flavor from the roasted vegetables and that requisite crunch from the fresh ones.
Quinoa sucks in liquid, so I make a lot of the citrus dressing for this salad. Because this salad is so hearty, I really like it for the winter. The vibrant colors of the vegetables also brighten up the table.
This is a great option to have on your table for vegetarians, as it’s really filling and tasty. It also keeps very well in the fridge, and tastes great leftover. This recipe is good for about 6-8 side servings.
ROASTED VEGETABLE AND QUINOA SALAD WITH CITRUS DRESSING
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red peppers cut into quarters (without the white bits)
2 carrots cut lengthwise into 6ths and cut down the middle again
2 zucchinis cut lengthwise into 6ths and cut down the middle again
1 large onion cut into 6ths and cut down the middle again (make sure the onion doesn’t fall into pieces, otherwise it will get burned in the oven)
1 whole head of garlic
2 Israeli cucumbers diced
2 pickled cucumbers diced
About 10 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
Juice of half a small lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
Juice of half an orange
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
How to do it
1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
2. Prepare the quinoa (I usually heat a little olive oil in a small pot and saute the quinoa for a minute, adding 2 cups of boiling water. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and let the quinoa simmer until all the water has cooked away. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa cool down.)
3. Place the cut up peppers, carrots, zucchini, onion and garlic head on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and greased with the olive oil and put on the middle rack of the oven. Sprinkle a little more olive oil over the vegetables as well. Roast for 20 minutes and then turn the peppers, zucchini and carrots over using tongs,and roast for another about 15 minutes or until the peppers start to get black. (Don’t turn the onions or they will fall apart)
4. Remove the vegetables from the oven and put the pepper pieces into a small plastic bag and close the bag. After about 20 minutes, you will be able to easily peel the skin off the peppers.
5. Chop up all the roasted and vegetables into small bite-sized pieces (discarding any papery, dark onion slices); and add to the quinoa, along with the chopped fresh vegetables.
6. Mix the dressing in a jar with a lid that closes well by adding all dressing ingredients plus the roasted garlic, which you squeeze out of the top part of the head. If you find this difficult, take a serrated knife and slice the tips of the garlic cloves off and then squeeze – it’s just like squeezing toothpaste. Shake the dressing very well and taste for flavor. Pour over the salad and serve.