We go through phases with salads round here.
First and for a long time there was a couscous salad. Couscous, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, red pepper, cucumber, spring onions, feta. It was easy, familiar, we made it a lot.
Next came chickpeas with roasted butternut squash, beetroot, feta. It took a little longer to make, a salad to warm rather than cool.
Then, last Summer, I bought Plenty and a quinoa, wild rice and basmati rice salad with sweet potatoes became the new favourite.
But, as time went on we found ourselves considering lighter options. Moving away from Winter roots. I read this on Gluten Free Girl and the Chef and thought, yes, carrots, fennel, kale, feta. Yes. So I chopped carrots and fennel, tossed them with a little olive oil, some caraway seeds, cumin seeds, and aleppo pepper flakes and roasted them for about 20 minutes. I added kale to roast for five minutes at the end. You just want it to crisp up slightly. I cooked the quinoa and the basmati and wild rice, chopped some spring onion, some fresh mint and parsley, feta. I tossed it all together, grains, vegetables, herbs, cheese.
ROASTED CARROT, FENNEL & KALE SALAD
Serves 4 (or 2 greedy ones for dinner with just enough leftovers for lunch the next day)
4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into large chunks
2 bulbs of fennel, quartered and sliced
½ tbsp of olive oil
½ tsp of caraway seeds
½ tsp of cumin seeds
½ tsp of aleppo pepper flakes
2 handfuls of shredded kale
150g basmati and wild rice mix
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
a small handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
leaves from a few sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped
Use more or less of any of the spices or substitute, fennel seeds work well instead of caraway.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the carrots and fennel onto a large baking tray and toss well with the olive oil, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, aleppo pepper flakes and a little sea salt. Place the tray into the oven to roast for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and fennel have browned slightly and softened. Add the kale to the tray, toss well with the other vegetables to coat the kale lightly in oil and roast for a further 5 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven.
While the vegetables are roasting cook your rice mix according to the packet instructions. To cook the quinoa either throw it in with the rice about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time (my method) or cook it separately.
Once the rice, quinoa and vegetables are cooked combine them in a large salad bowl and add the spring onions, herbs and feta and taste for seasoning, I usually add a small sprinkle of sea salt. Serve, enjoy, and, if you're anything like us, prepare to make once a week until the next salad comes along.