Eve’s Walnut Quinoa Salad
The weather is warming up, we’ve come out of winter hibernation, ready for the busier social scene summer tends to invite. After baking, my second love is putting together new and unique salad combinations. This one was begging to be made in anticipation of lazy summer BBQ’s with family and friends and I had fun putting it together over the warm weekend.
One of my favourite ingredients is quinoa and not because it’s uber-cool but because it is healthy, delicious and versatile. High in protein and many essential nutrients, quinoa contains a balanced combination of all essential amino acids. There’s my spiel, now go and make this salad immediately!
To make a large size serve to feed 8-10 friends at a BBQ you need:
1.5 cups of Quinoa – rinsed
2 cups cold water
200gm block of firm fetta, chopped
340gm jar of roasted red pepper cut into strips (or roast your own - 2 red capsicums in oven 200C until blackened skin, then sweat in a freezer bag and peel off skin)
240gm can chickpeas, rinsed
150gm walnuts – lightly roasted (grill on tray, turning regularly – they burn quickly, so keep an eye on them!)
A large bunch of rocket to mix through salad
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3-4 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Dash of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
(You can adjust these amounts according to taste and amount required)
1) Soak quinoa in the cold water in a medium size pot for 15 minutes. Then put on a medium heat until boiling with lid on. Reduce to a low simmer with lid for about 15 minutes until almost all the water is absorbed. Stir with a fork and then leave to sit for a few minutes with lid on. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool in fridge.
2) After quinoa has cooled slightly add fetta, chickpeas, roasted pepper strips, rocket and mix together.
3) For dressing, mix all ingredients together (a shaker is best) and stir into salad just prior to serving. Finally sprinkle salad with roughly chopped walnuts.
You can experiment with your own additions, e.g. change the type of nut, add corn kernels, sundried tomatoes, roasted eggplant or change the dressing – also nice with a pomegranate dressing.