[donotprint] This time of year my go to options when it comes to food are usually warm or piping hot, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. Comfort food, belly filling, sometimes a overly so but that’s what baggie winter layers are for…accommodating the “food babies”.
That said, I occassionally get a longing for something a little more chilled, temperature wise. The difference being that it’s a chilled cooked food craving as opposed to anything raw that appeals more during the Summer and Spring months.
Curries, beans, chilli’s and soups, they all have their place, but you can’t beat a good salad. It’s the so called salads that usually come about out of leftovers, easily enjoyed hot, cold or anywhere in between. Having spotted fresh cranberries in the shops last week I got to concocting an idea in my head of the other veggies I’d been neglecting lately, most notably carrots, and got to roasting.
I picked up some amazing organic carrots in The Happy Pear, the flavour is just out of this world; seriously no comparison between non-organic and organic when it comes to carrots, others taste bland and positively lifeless, of course my lack of consuming any type of carrot in recent weeks may have played a teeny part in my tastebuds receiving them so delightfully!
I’ve never bought ready made cranberry sauce; it’s just far too easy to make you’re own, sans the unnecessary thickeners and excess sweeteners and god only knows what else that doesn’t have a true part to play other than extending shelf live and appeasing the sugar craving palates of the masses….ok I’ll stop for a breath now!
Fresh cranberries, a little water, a little maple syrup, cooked down and blended and it’s thickens up without any assistance. Tart, beautiful, pure and glossy. The perfect Winter salad topper if you ask me!
Having reintroduced quinoa wholeheartedly in to my diet after far too long I remembered I had an unopened bag of the tricolour variety which having now devoured this plateful I’m madly in love with! The mixture of the flavours and textures of the quinoa varieties, fluffy and light, nutty with a bit of bite, it was the perfect bed for my roasted veggie combination.
Leeks and carrots, some chopped, some whole, tossed in a little maple syrup (I know, who am I to criticise people craving sugar right ), roasted and laid on top of the protein rich grain, topped with cranberry sauce and pecans. It was a plate of pure beauty, sprinkled with fresh parsley, pulled from a new parsley plant….I’m not having the greatest luck with herb survival rate of late, but picking up a new plant is cheaper than buying a bag of fresh herbs so here’s to hoping this one lasts a bit longer.
This was my first experience/dish/time tasting persimmons! I was a little worried I was going to like them. They look a little funny and I had no idea what they might taste like. I was pleasantly surprised! Juicy, sweet with a subtle not at all over powering flavour. The worked wonderfully with the cranberry sauce!
I hadn’t honestly intended on eating this dish somewhere between warm and room temperature but I got distracted post photo taking by cleaning up and when I sat down to eat it I decided against reheating partially because I didn’t want to ruin the “picture” but mainly because I was too lazy/hungry to consider it.
Absolutely delicious! Every mouthful was incredibly fresh, packed full of flavour, satisfying and comforting, yet a great deal lighter than a the opposing comforting bowl of chili. Salads have to become more of a weekly feature for the rest of the winter months, this one was definitely too good not to repeat. I also now have leftover cranberry sauce….perfect whipped oat topping!
What’s your favourite roasted veggie to incorporate in a salad? I’d always go with squash be it kabocha or butternut, but clearly I need to step outside my pumpkin world a little bit! [/donotprint]
Roasted Carrot and Leek Cranberry Quinoa Salad
Preparation Time – 5 minutes
Cooking Time – 35 – 40 minutes
- 4-5 small carrots
- 1 medium leeks, sliced in lengthy pieces, similar in size to a whole small carrot!
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup uncooked tricolour quinoa
- 1 small persimmon peeled and diced
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped pecans
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 – 3 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Add cranberry sauce ingredients in to a pot, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until cranberries break down. Pulse a few times with a handblender and set to one side.
- If making in advance place in a seal tight container and once cooled place in the fridge were it will thicken further.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
- Toss leeks and carrot in maple syrup and place JUST the carrots on a non stick baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove, toss and lay leeks along side them. Return to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes, turning vegetables at least once during this time.
- Meanwhile cover quinoa with water, bring the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place quinoa on a plate, lay roasted veggies and fresh diced permissions on top, followed by a couple of tablespoons (about 1/2 of the cranberry sauce!), sprinkle with pecans and parsley and dig in as soon as you like– delicious warm, cold or anywhere in between!