This salad was the all time favourite of a client who I cooked for for many years. She was very low maintenance thanks to the fact that she really loved all food and also because she wanted this same salad at least once a week. I haven’t been able to look at it for years (I got pretty sick of it) but I was thinking about it the other day and thought I’d give it another try.
It brought back lots of memories (as food can really do) and I remembered why it got so much love in the first place. Its flavours are well balanced (bitter greens with sweet potatoes and fresh, grassy dill), it is hearty (protein-rich quinoa, beefy broccoli and fatty almonds) and it’s easy to take with you as a snack or lunch on your way out the door, or wrap up in a collard with some avocado (how I judge the merits of all grain-based salads).
This is the time of year when we need a salad like this in our corner. By simply sitting patiently in your fridge it will prevent you from cracking the Christmas candy/cookies that you have made as gifts, out of hunger and a busy schedule that has prevented you from doing your regular grocery shopping (or the fact that a giant bag of coconut sugar won out over the squash and lentils space in your shopping bag this week).
All you have to do is shop once (get some avocados of varying ripeness while you’re at it), cook once, and it will feed you, your body, and your nutrient-hungry cells every day up until Christmas.
Your liver will thank you for those dandelion greens, the handfuls of fresh parsley and broccoli with its anticancer powers will taste so good, especially if you’ve been getting a little bit indulgent with the sweets. It is one of those salads that will make your insides feel freshly showered.
The dressing is rich but oil-free, thanks to the hemp hearts used as the creamy base (don’t worry, it tastes nothing like store-bought hemp milk, you actually barely taste the hemp at all, but oh that texture…). The brightness of the lemon makes everything taste alive and might even help you forget that it looks like it’s midnight outside at 7:45am.
If you’re skill-set doesn’t include quinoa-cooking, check out this post I did on cooking soaked quinoa. The soaking step is important because it helps us digest its nutrients, and from a culinary standpoint, eliminates the bitterness that some people relate to this ancient (non) grain. These tips will help you not turn it into a sog-fest.
I love this salad with quinoa and its high protein/low gi stats for any time of year but especially during sweet, sweet December. That being said, I have also made this salad with spelt and kamut (wheat-free but not gluten-free) in place of the quinoa and enjoyed the chewiness of the grains, and it works well with buckwheat too (gluten-free).
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all get to spend lots of time with the ones you love :)
- 1 c Quinoa, soaked overnight, drained, rinsed, cooked and cooled.
- 1 medium Sweet Potato (I used a purple one, but any colour will do), diced, tossed in extra virgin coconut oil and roast @325*F for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through.
- 2 c Dandelion Greens, chopped
- 2 c fresh Parsley. chopped
- 2 c Broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces (optional: roast with the sweet potato or just leave raw)
- 1 bunch Green Onions, sliced thinly (reserve the white parts for the dressing)
- ½ c Dill, Chopped (save the stems to go into the dressing)
- ½ c Almonds (raw, soaked or very lightly toasted)
- ½ c Hemp Hearts
- ½ c Lemon juice
- ½ c Water
- 1 Lemon zest
- 1 bunch of Green Onion 2 inch white ends (6-8)
- the Dill stems from above
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Toss all ingredients together with the dressing until well mixed.
- Keeps, covered, in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth.