This salad is a wonderful alternative to the heavy roasted vegetables which often grace our Christmas dinner tables. Although not traditional, this fresh, light salad is actually the perfect accompaniment to a roast turkey – especially for those looking to avoid the festive food hangover!
Healthy and seasonal, this simple salad is also great as a stand alone meal. I find chickpeas a really substantial alternative to meat – high in protein and low GI means you can eat LOADS of them, but more than that I love the nutty taste and smooth texture they add to this recipe. Paired with crunchy carrots, creamy feta and a little freshness from the mint, this is a satisfying option for either lunch or supper.
Of course it’s hard to feed a salad like this to a carnivorous husband like mine – a nice lean piece of lamb back strap, cooked tender and pink is a delicious serving suggestion. Slice thinly and toss through the salad with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4-6 as a side salad
2 large carrots (I have used 1 purple, 1 orange for colour only)
10 prunes, stones removed
1/2 cup almonds
2 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup quinoa
100g feta cheese
50 ml fresh orange juice
50 ml olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (substitute with brown sugar)
plenty of black pepper
First, cook the quinoa by placing it in a small saucepan with 1 cup of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Place on a lid and cook over the lowest possible heat for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is plump.
For the salad, simply shred the carrots with a wide peeler into long ribbons. Place in a large bowl with the chickpeas, cooked quinoa, roughly chopped prunes and almonds, and the orange zest. Mix well before crumbling over the feta cheese and garnishing with a handful of fresh mint, sliced into thin strips.
Dress immediately before serving.
Replace the prunes with marsala soaked sultanas for a festive kick.
Rosemary instead of mint will bring the flavours back from the Middle East to Europe.
I love this salad with lamb back strap marinated in garlic, cumin, ground fennel, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Cook it on the griddle to get a nice charred flavour.
Greek yoghurt and warm flatbread.