*disclaimer* We don’t have any pictures of the making of this salad – just the final result. When we made it a little while ago, we didn’t know that the blog was going to be around. But its a good one and so we’re sharing the recipe with you today! *end disclaimer*
The both of us have spent a lot of time wondering how our moms have this whole “cooking at home everyday” thing down to a science. After much discussion and research (aka asking people that have mastered this daunting task) and also by living on our own, we found that one thing that helps so much with trying to be healthy and eat at home is planning and prep. If you find good produce at the store one evening, buy it. If you can’t use it all in one sitting, steam it or roast it and put it in the fridge or freezer. It’s a gift from God when you’re scratching your head about what to make for a meal and you find these beautiful things stored away, ready to use!
This “Anything-Goes Quinoa Salad” has been one of Namrata’s favourites to make (and eat) and as it turned out, was the perfect solution for all that was pre-steamed/roasted and in Nancy’s fridge. While this may seem like a lot of work for one salad, if a couple of things are pre-prepped, it really is very easy to make and so tasty and fresh!
Grains and produce
1/4 cup Quinoa
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 beet (boiled, peeled and cut into big squares)
1 medium size onion (roughly chopped)
2 small tomatoes (roughly chopped)
1 medium size sweet potato (roasted and cut into big squares)
1 packet halloumi cheese
A few handsful (basically as much as you would want) baby spinach (washed and dried)
1 quarter bunch cilantro or parsley (or a mix of both)
A few sprigs of fresh mint
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
The Quinoa part
1- Cook the quinoa in the stock. We used vegetable stock however, any of your choice will work. If not, water works just fine.
Also, if this is your first time using quinoa, make sure you rinse the daylight out of the quinoa before you cook it – you will needed to use a sieve. Once the liquid has evaporated and is fluffy, set aside.
The Produce part: This is where all the pre-steaming/ roasting comes handy
Boiling the beets: Wash the beets, place in a pan of warm water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until done i.e. approx 30 minutes. Once done, rinse in cold water, peel off the skin, and cut into cubes
Roasting the sweet potato: Wash the sweet potato, cut up into cubes and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes as well as a generous sprinkle of mixed dried herbs (whatever you have in the pantry – thyme, oregano, basil, mint…)
1- The BBC Good Food magazine had an excellent tip for the halloumi – soak it in cold water for approx 30 minutes before use as this helps reduce the saltiness of the cheese.
2- Cut halloumi into bite size.
3- Pan sear
1- Chop the herbs as finely as possible. We used cilantro and mint. We didn’t have any Parsley. Speaking from experience, any fresh leafy herb works great here – and use (within some reason) to your heart’s content.
2- Squeeze the two lemons in a bowl.
3- Whisk in the olive oil, salt and pepper.
4- Mix in the finely chopped fresh herbs.
1- In a large salad bowl mix the quinoa, beets, roasted sweet potato, onions, tomatoes and baby spinach
2- Add the dressing and take your time mixing it all together (you want that fresh lime and herb flavor in every bite)
3- Add pan seared halloumi and give it one last mix
4- Toss the remaining baby spinach on the top (we just did that for color)
The fact that beets were pre-prepped was amazing because it was part of the original recipe Namrata had used in the past. The sweet potato however, was an impromptu addition (also because Nancy had taken it out of the freezer and it was sitting out on the counter to defrost already!). And so the name – anything goes!