JEWELLED QUINOA SALAD + Grilled Vegetable Dips

3rd December, 2020

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This month I will be sharing a series of weekly recipes for the festive season and summer feasting. The focus is on seasonal vegetables and fruit as the heart of the recipes. We are so incredibly lucky to have our holiday season fall at the beginning of summer with fresh berries, stone fruit and early summer vegetables. It is a celebration in itself to even have these at our fingertips. Let’s make the most of them!

Jewelled Quinoa Salad

This vibrant herbed salad is bursting with fresh flavour with a hint of the Levant due to the inclusion of tart pomegranate seeds. I have used New Zealand-grown quinoa for its delightful chewy texture, though couscous would work just as well (prepare it according to packet instructions).
Servings 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • Large handful (about 100g) each parsley and mint, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 4 tbsp
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Half telegraph cucumber, cubed
  • Seeds of half a pomegranate

Instructions

  • Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and quinoa and boil for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is just tender while still chewy. Drain thoroughly in a sieve and spread the quinoa in a shallow bowl to cool. The quinoa can be prepared the day before and stored in a container in the fridge overnight.
  • To prepare the salad, in a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa (or couscous) with the chopped herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir well and taste, adding extra lemon juice if needed and season well. Fold through the tomatoes and cucumber and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds. Cover until ready to serve.

Grazing Platter + Grilled Vegetable Dips

Depending on the number of guests and/or grazing time, make this platter as overflowing as required. I like to highlight local products – such as cheeses, charcuterie and breads – while filling in the gaps with seasonal produce for colour and freshness. The flavoursome grilled vegetable dips are easy to prepare, making the most of the summer barbecue. The zucchini dip, in particular, is one I plan to make often. It is nicely smokey from the barbecue time - even my zucchini-shy children loved it. 
Servings 8
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Zucchini, mint & chevre dip

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced in half lengthways
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 100 g chevre – soft goat cheese or feta cheese
  • Small handful of mint, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Cracked pepper

Red capsicum & cashew dip

  • 2 red capsicums, halved and stalk/seeds removed
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • ½ cup roasted cashews
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Grazing platter ingredients
  • Selection of cheeses
  • Sliced salami
  • Crackers and/or sourdough bread
  • Cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and radish halves
  • Nuts – walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts
  • Berries and stone fruit

Instructions

  • Make the dips. Grill the vegetables ahead of time when the barbecue is in use (or use a grill pan on the stovetop). Brush the zucchini and capsicums with oil and cook on a hot barbecue grill plate, turning regularly until tender and moderately charred, about 15 minutes. Cool on a plate, then chill until ready to prepare the dips.
  • Zucchini dip: Roughly chop the grilled zucchini and place into a food processor with the chevre or feta, mint, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend for 1 minute to combine, then check seasoning adding cracked pepper to taste.
  • Red capsicum dip: Peel away the grilled capsicum skin as much as possible and discard/compost. Roughly chop and place in a food processor with the cashews and vinegar. Blend into a rough paste. With the engine running, drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Season to taste.
  • Scoop the dips into small serving bowls. Cover and chill for up to 2 days until ready to serve.
  • Prepare the grazing platter. Using a large board or platter, place the dips on either side then arrange the different platter ingredients around. Fill in any gaps with sliced vegetables, berries and nuts. Serve with bubbly drinks to toast the summer season.

Homegrown Kitchen 2021 Recipe Calendar – find more details HERE. 

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