The days and getting longer and the evenings are getting warmer. Spring is in the air and the promise of Summer is just around the corner. This time of year always sees a change in the food I buy and the meals I prepare. I start to move away from big warm hearty dishes, and more towards bright fresh plates of food.
Salad for me, might just be my favourite type of food. No, that doesn’t mean a single lettuce leaf on a plate or a dish full of rabbit food, it means fresh, crunchy, delicious, filling, healthy and beautiful looking plates of food.
Salad options really are endless and I love experimenting with new flavours and combinations.
Today I’ve pulled together 2 of my favourite salads for this time of year. There’s nothing too complex or unusual about these recipes and so they’re ridiculously quick and simple to make.
Mexican Quinoa Salad
This salad is so delicious and has wonderful authentic Mexican flavours to make it super fresh and perfect for Spring. Throw in a couple of Margaritas and you’ve got yourself a party.
- 1/2 cup Quinoa (cooked and cooled)
- 1 cup of sweetcorn
- 1/2 orange pepper diced
- 1/2 green pepper diced
- 1/2 red onion sliced and diced
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- handful of fresh coriander chopped
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- finely chopped chilli to taste
- juice from half a lime
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cook your quinoa first to make sure it’s cooled by the time you come to put together your salad. If you haven’t used quinoa before it’s super easy to cook and work with, just follow the instructions on the packet for the best results. Chop or dice all of your veggies and combine them in a bowl with your cooled quinoa. Once well combined, mix all of your dressing ingredients together in a small dish and add to the salad, making sure to mix well to ensure each mouthful is beautifully dressed. Plate up on a fancy dish or platter and you’re good to go!
Mediterranean Summer Salad
This salad is full of rich Mediterranean flavours and textures and reminds me of long hot days in Greece. It is a perfect accompaniment to al fresco meals or even as a main course served with vegan tzatziki and bread.
- 1 cup quinoa (cooked and cooled)
- 1/2 cup blank kalamata olives (pitted and chopped in half)
- 2 tbsp small capers
- 1 roasted/charred red pepper
- 125g sun dried tomatoes
- 200g artichoke hearts (quartered)
- 1/2 red onion (diced)
- 1 can chick peas
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1/4 cup of fresh dill (chopped)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
Cut your pepper into quarters, place on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins at 180 until roasted and looking slightly charred. This gives a lovely sweet smokey flavour (alternatively you can buy a jar of roasted peppers and use 3/4 of these). While the peppers are cooking, cook and cool your quinoa.
Half your olives (make sure the stones are out) and place in a bowl with the other prepared ingredients, including the quinoa and mix well. When your peppers are ready, cut into smaller pieces and mix into the bowl with the other ingredients – if any areas of the peppers are looking a bit too charred, just lightly remove the skin which should easily come away from the flesh. Combine your ingredients for your dressing in a bowl and mix thoroughly through the salad. This salad is best served chilled, so pop it in the fridge before serving.
I love to keep my tableware and settings bright, colourful and representative of both my personality and style, but also the food I’m serving. These beautiful ornate plates are from Amara.