I love and I hate salads.
I hate them for the bland and tasteless side salads you receive in restaurants. I find lettuce boring, cucumbers dull, and sliced whole tomatoes wholly lacking excitement. I would never order a salad instead of chips at Wetherspoons, shall we say.
When it comes to making them myself however, its an entirely new matter! I love them because when done right, they provide a base for almost every ingredient you can possibly think of, and you can really let your imagination run wild. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, every flavour profile can work in a salad, and so does mixing it up! All kinds of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds.
Therefore when I spotted Tesco selling their spicy salad leaves for super low prices as they were going off that day, I was inspired! I was so surprised at how good this dish was and gobbled it up in no time.
It’s fresh tasting, and really easy to make! You should get some really intense and exciting flavours from the toasted walnuts, goats cheese, and pomegranate. Good for both a summer sharing dish, or in winter served alongside a hearty soup to fill you up (carrot and butternut squash for me!).
Ingredients: Serves 2
- 125g cooked quinoa
- 75-90g mixed salad leaves – any will do, but I used the Tesco ‘Fresh and Naked Spicy Mix’, containing bulls blood, wasabi rocket, and mustard rocket. Other leaves that work well include rocket, red/green oak leaf lettuce, frisee and kale.
- 50g walnut halves
- Half a pomegranate
- 50g plum tomatoes, halved
- 60g soft goats cheese
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
- Dried Oregano
- Dried basil
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking tray and bake for 7-10 minutes until they have visibly gone a shade darker.
- Meanwhile, if you’re using a fresh pomegranate, use this waiting time to deseed it into a bowl. This can be messy, so keep a cloth on hand and don’t wear white!
- I prefer the walnuts a little smaller than halves, so once I took them out I roughly crushed them just with a spoon. If you would rather larger walnut pieces then leave be.
- Combine the quinoa, lettuce, tomatoes, walnuts and pomegranate in a large bowl and thoroughly mix.
- Make the dressing by combining in a little glass the oil and vinegar, with a pinch of the oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
- Add to the salad and toss.
- To keep goats cheese separated (read: not mushy) and fresh tasting, I like to add this in torn small chunks at the end.