It’s so hard not to call a salad a rainbow! But these purple and orange rainbow carrots and the wonderful vibrant colours just make it extra rainbow. I love them so much they’re such a beautiful vegetable, such a lovely surprise when you cut into them and see their burst of surprise colour. And baby kale is my latest favourite green leaf, it has such flavour and goodness, and feels like something wild, something you could pick if you knew where to forage it, it has that substance about it. Kale reminds me of sorrel, which we used to pick in the garden when I was a child, and raw mature kale is even more like it, especially the pulp after it’s been through the juicer, though stronger and more bitter, it has that sour tang that’s so good. Baby kale is more delicate, but very flavoursome.
Spring is in the air, after late snow and stormy weather in March. The first time I saw Tiger sitting in the morning sun was just such a happy moment. He is a real country bumpkin, all summer he lies in the long grass, making tunnels and nests, and is never happier. All winter he waits (on a pink velvet cushion no less) patiently, but he lives for the sunshine and long lazy days.
A perfect day for a beautiful rainbow salad, which I am craving after winter, whose icy fingers have only just begun to let go of us. The sun is warm but the air has bite, and up in the hills it is still near freezing with the windchill. Down in the shelter of the valley we are being treated to those wonderful early spring days that make you feel you are unfurling and so much more is possible that it felt before ♥
I’ve used a dressing made from cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, raw cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and ground red peppercorns. You can make it oil-free if you like, the sweetness of the maple syrup goes very well with the acidity of the raw cider vinegar, or you could add tahini for a less processed and more nutritious oiliness, and a thicker dressing, or garlic and mustard for more punch, but here I have used a good cold-pressed olive oil, I love the flavour and the purity of such a simple salad dressing. I have been a total black pepper fanatic, having given up chile and paprika and other nightshades, but have recently rediscovered the mild fruitiness of red peppercorns, which go so well in a dressing. It’s such a thing of beauty golden in the late-afternoon light.
Salad is such nurturing food, especially made more filling and nutritionally balanced with a pseudo-grain. Quinoa is a great salad bulker, adding protein and carbs and its lovely fluffy nature which soaks up the salad dressing and makes it all so good. It has a complete range of amino acids and omega 3 and 6, and is a near perfect food, easy to digest, light, versatile and nutritious. And gorgeous to eat too. It makes you feel full of spring ♥
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 50g baby kale
- 2 large lettuce leaves of choice
- 8 radishes
- 1 large purple rainbow carrot
- 1/4 large cucumber
- 1 celery stick
- 6 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tbsp raw cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground red peppercorns
Heat the water and add the quinoa, bring to a boil and simmer with the lid on for ten minute or so, until the grain separates and then leave with the lid on to absorb the rest of the water. Afer fifteen minutes or so, remove the lid and allow to cool. Cooked in advance the salad is a super fast meal or side.
Mix the dressing and leave to sit, adjusting to taste.
Rinse the leaves and shake to remove water. Wash the rest of the veg. Slice the radish and celery. Slice the rainbow carrot and cucumber with a julienne peeler and then with a knife for various texture. You can slice them as you prefer, but I love the textured salad this creates.
Lightly toast the sunflower seeds in a pan, being careful not to burn, add a little salt to taste. Set aside to cool.
Place the cooled quinoa and leaves in a salad bowl, add the other veg on top and sprinkle the seeds. Give the dressing a good stir and pour on the salad when ready to serve and toss gently.
The salad amounts are not set in stone, you can use more or less of what you like but this proportion works well.
If you use non-raw vinegar then adjust the taste as raw is milder. A sharper vinegar would benefit from more sweetness.
I’ve been listening to… Nightmares on Wax ‘ 70’s 80’s Kid’
I’ve been watching… Mad Men
I’ve been reading… Forks Over Knives articles