Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Crispy Kale and Toasted Almonds
I consider myself pretty lucky that it's a hop, skip and a jump (literally) to a vast array of beautifully fresh produce, organic or otherwise. Not all of us in Australia have such a choice; in fact for many in smaller regional cities and areas, sourcing organic food in particular has not been readily accessible at all.
Thankfully however things do seem to be on the move in this (organic produce) department. In celebration of Organic Awareness Month this September, I've created a recipe consisting almost entirely of ingredients from the Macro Organic Range at Woolworths, to show you how easy it is to access, create and consume organic food.
Having this choice, the choice to eat food as nature intended in its purest form, should be a choice made available for all us. It should not be a choice exclusively for those living in bigger cities with access to a huge array of stores. With over 200 products in their Macro Organic range and stores all over Australia, Woolies is providing this greater accessibility – and hats off to that.
To demonstrate said variety of Macro Organic products available at Woolies I figured I'd throw all but the kitchen sink into the hero of this post - my spring inspired salad.
But first, a quick and pertinent note on salad! In my opinion, a salad worth writing home about must have texture - and the most vital texture (again, in my opinion) is that of CRUNCH.
So it is that I introduce you to a rather delightful organic spring vegetable quinoa salad with the mandatory added crunch of homemade kale chips and toasted almonds.
Get out that paper and pen folks, it's time to write home!
Serves 6 (as a side salad).
1 cup quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 bunch kale
1 cup peas, cooked
1 bunch asparagus, cut in half on the diagonal
1/4 cup goji berries
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed coriander leaves
1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for kale)
1/3 sea salt (for kale)
For the dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons raw honey
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
Cooking the quinoa.
Rinse the quinoa by placing it in a fine mesh strainer and running it under cool water from the tap, rubbing the quinoa with your fingers to agitate it. Drain. Place the quinoa in a small saucepan, add the water and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer lid on, for 12 minutes. Take the quinoa off the heat, fluff with a fork and let it sit for 5 minutes, lid on. Then, take the lid off and allow it to cool down.
Turn on your oven to 150 degrees celsius. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.
It is unlikely you'll need all of this kale for your salad but I urge you to bake the lot for snacking purposes.
Cut or tear the leaves off the thick stems of the kale and tear into chip sized pieces. Put your kale leaves into a large bowl and add the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Using your hands massage the oil into your chips thoroughly. Sprinkle with the sea salt and continue to combine.
Spread the leaves out on your baking trays. Don't pile them on top of each other or they'll effectively steam and won't go crispy so try and leave a little space between the leaves. You may even need to do a couple of lots.
Pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes, but check them at 10. Pull them out and rotate them if you can see they are not cooking evenly. Put back in the oven for a further 5- 10 minutes. Kale chips are at the mercy of our varying ovens so do stay close by! Remove when crispy and let cool on the tray.
Use a vegetable peeler to julienne the zucchini into ribbon-like lengths. Preheat a griddle frying pan (or BBQ) on high heat and grease with olive oil. Once the pan is very hot, lay the zucchini strips. The idea is to create horizontal charred blackened lines - it should take 3 or so minutes both sides. When cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rapid boil. Fill medium bowl with icy cold water. Blanch the asparagus by submerging the asparagus spears in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes (until they are tender and very green). Drain the boiling water and transfer the asparagus spears immediately to the cold water to ensure the asparagus retains a vibrant green colour. Allow to cool in the water for 5 minutes before draining.
Combine your dressing ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake. Grabbing a large bowl mix all salad ingredients and dressing, leaving the crispy kale and almonds aside. Taste and season further as required, you may even like to add more lemon juice.
Tip into a salad bowl and sprinkle your mandatory crunchy additions on top. Enjoy as a stand alone meal or as a side to a delicious BBQ or protein dish of choice.
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