It's summer time and that means salads! I don't know about you but I get so bored with a standard salad so I am always looking for new ways to get plenty of fresh vegetables into my day and enjoy delicious food that fills me up. We know that we should eat 5 serves of vegetables every day but this isn't always easy, especially if you are eating on the go. A salad that is packed with vegetables, some protein, fat and carbohydrate will fill you up and provide you with all the essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that you need every day. This salad has become a favourite of mine this summer. I even had it for breakfast this morning as I was busy dealing with a tantruming child, getting washing on the line, a husband out the door and all the usual stuff mums deal with each morning! After school drop off I came home (shed a few tears for the emotional start to the day I had) and tucked into this delicious salad. I know that when I eat well, I feel more able to get on with my day and deal with all that life throws my way. I took this salad out with me this week too and added some barbequed chicken thigh which was an absolute winner! You can play around with this salad as much as you like, adding things and using different amounts of herbs to your taste. I love fresh herbs so I tend to use them in abundance. The dressing for this salad has also become my go-to dressing for salads this summer so I make it in a larger quantity and use what I need each time and store the rest in the fridge. Saves time and hassle making it each time!
Here's the ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1/2 medium sized butternut pumpkin
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 spring onions
1/4 cup roasted almonds
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
I like to prepare the quinoa and roast pumpkin sometime during the week when I have the oven on already and I am in the kitchen cooking other things. I store them in the fridge ready for when I want to use them. It makes getting lunch in the morning quick or putting a salad on the table at night quick too!
The quinoa cooks the same as rice - double the water quantity to the quinoa. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for another 10 minutes.
Peel, de-seed and chop the pumpkin in small pieces. Roast with a little olive oil at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.
When you are ready to make the salad, chop the baby spinach leaves, mint, coriander and spring onions. I also like the chop the roast almonds into small pieces. Combine the ingredients, drizzle on the dressing and enjoy your salad!