You need to make this salad. You need to make this salad because no one really wants another iceberg lettuce concoction on the buffet table at Christmas time (except the one your Aunty makes because it tastes just like it did when you were a kid). You need to make this salad because when you bring it to a party all spread out on a pretty white platter it looks so festive and everyone thinks you put in way more effort than you did. You need to make this salad because while you are making it you have time in between to shower, find your prettiest party dress, and put on some mascara and shiny earrings. You need to make this salad because between the sweet baked concoctions that abound at this time of year you need to eat something fresh and healthy and equally delicious.
The mix of red and white quinoa is probably unnecessary, but it adds a festive touch, in my humble opinion, and the grilled capsicum and corn a sweet jewels hidden among salty fetta and deeply toasted almonds.
You need to make this salad because it will help you keep a healthy festive glow and keep you in fitting into your pretty party dress. And, it makes an acceptable midnight snack when you get in from a holiday party that went exceptionally well.
Charred Corn, Capsicum, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free and vegetarian)
You can of course use 1 ½ cups total of either red or white quinoa instead of half and half. Serves 6-8 as a side dish. This salad will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
- ¾ cup white quinoa
- ¾ cup red quinoa
- 3 cups room temperature water
- 1 teaspoon powdered vegetable stock (ensure this is gluten free)
- 230 gram jar red pepper relish (I love this new one by Always Fresh)
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper)
- 3 cobs of corn
- ¾ cup almonds
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 100 grams Greek-style Fetta
- Olive oil spray
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Rinse quinoa and drain well. Place in a medium-size saucepan along with the water and powdered vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Allow to cool completely.
- Heat a grill plate to high and oil lightly with olive oil spray. Grill corn for 10 – 15 minutes turning regularly until the kernels have turned darker yellow in colour and there are charred spots. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly. Chop kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, remove core from capsicum and cut into four large pieces. Place skin side down on grill with corn until the skin is blackened. Remove from grill and place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes before peeling off the skin. Slice into thick ribbons and add to the large bowl.
- Heat oven to 180C (356F) and spread almonds on a baking sheet, when the oven is heated toast almonds for 5 minutes. Remove and chop roughly and add to bowl.
- To the corn, capsicum, and almond mixture add the cooled quinoa, baby spinach leaves and red pepper relish. Mix carefully with two spoons. Use a lifting and fluffing motion.
- For the dressing: whisk together all ingredients and pour over the quinoa mixture.
- Spread out on a platter and crumble fetta over the top. Serve immediately.
PS: You should also make these Spirit of the Season Blondies to take along to the party as well because, more is always more.