Not a day goes by without our preparing a salad. Like two little rabbits, we are forever munching on greens. Even on a frosty July evening, winter salads appeal just as much as those of summer. Our leafy repertoire packs a mighty punch, transforming what may be a dreary side dish into a vegetable charged main meal. Of course, grey skies do have us foraging for nourishing foods and quinoa is, as ever, our go-to grain. The mild, nutty taste is a wonderful base for other prominent flavours and this super seed is so nutrient dense, it cannot help but satisfy.
This Saturday’s farmers’ market brought with it corn picked straight from the cornfield – a throwback to our early years, when the two of us would munch on a boiled cob shamelessly lathered with butter. We have since taken to grilling it under high heat and shaving off the charred kernels, which somehow manage to retain their milky sweetness – a wonderful addition to any salad.
Here we have bumped up the flavour (and healthy fat content) with a generous tablespoon of coconut oil. Mixed simply with quinoa, you could stop right there and have one of our favourite food combos. The chilli and lime dressing adds a depth and savour; the toasted sesame an Asian twist. We always go to the extra effort of grinding cumin seeds and gently warming the spice until its smell fills our kitchen. Roasted and dressed while still warm, this spice does wonders for the corn, transforming an everyday humble vegetable into something spectacular.
We were left with one or two ears after our salad feast and as a nod to childhood, blanched them, doused them in butter and munched happily away…
The vegan version of this dish is a meal in its own right, but we have fortified it even further with a delicious goat’s milk gouda.
serves 4 – 6
3 corn on the cob
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
2 large avocados
½ cup white sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 ½ cups quinoa
4 tablespoons coconut oil
70g goat’s milk gouda
½ cup coriander leaves
1 ½ cups wild rocket
sea salt and black pepper
lime chilli vinaigrette:
juice and zest of 1 lime
½ clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 200˚C / 400 F. Lightly drizzle the corn with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 20 – 30 min, until soft and golden. When cool enough to handle cut the corn into 5cm chunks.
To cook the quinoa, combine it with 4 ½ cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the grains uncurl and become translucent. Add the coconut oil while still warm and set aside.
For the vinaigrette, simply whisk together all the ingredients. Quarter the avocados and coat each slice in a mixture of black and white sesame seeds.
To serve, combine the corn, quinoa, coriander, rocket and any leftover sesame. Spoon over the lime chilli vinaigrette and mix through. Finish with the avocado, wisps of goat’s milk gouda and an extra drizzle of olive oil.