This is a superb salad packed with so much flavour and it is really simple to prepare. Beetroot and goats cheese is a wedding meant to last!
My friend / neighbour here in Lagos is the queen of salad and she is so creative with simple ingredients. We had a wonderful dinner one weekend and she presented this unreal salad to us all nonchalantly. You know… “just something she came up with while looking at some ingredients she had in the house.” There was another salad, but more about that in the near future. All I can say is both salads shared first prize (and there were South African lamb chops on the menu, too).
She only laughs when I tell her she should start writing down her recipes and steps and write her own book on healthy living and share all her great recipes with the rest of us. She says she can’t cook, but she does not give herself enough credit. All the meals from her kitchen has been great! Thanks, Willemien, I will never forget your crazy salad and side dishes combinations.
If you decide to serve this as individual starters, reduce the amount of quinoa. If you are serving this as a side dish with a main meal you can keep the 2 cups quinoa. Also, if you are serving many side dishes with this, this salad will be enough for 6 – 8 people.
Red Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad
1½ - 2 Cups Red Quinoa (cooked)
4 Medium Orange Flesh Sweet Potato (cooked and cut into wedges)
Balsamic Roasted Red Onion and Beetroot (see recipe below)
Goats Cheese (type and quantity to taste; cut to your liking)
Handful Pistachios (crushed)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Balsamic Roasted Red Onion and Beetroot:
Preheat the oven to 160℃.
Line a medium oven tray with tin foil.
Rinse the beetroot. Make sure there is no soil left. You can use a vegetable brush to scrub the beetroot. Cut off the tops. Cut the beets lengthwise, then through the middel of each half and into pieced about 5mm thick. Place on the lined oven tray.
Peel and half the onion. Cut into 5mm slices. Add it to the beetroot.
Drizzle with olive oil. Not too much as it will cause the beetroot to crisp instead to cook to a soft texture.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction and add a pinch of salt.
Mix well until all the ingredients are combined. The beetroot and onion should be well covered.
Bake in to oven until soft and dark in colour. You should mix the beets every 10 - 15 minutes to make sure it does not burn.
If it looks like the balsamic reduction is starting to burn, but the beetroot is not yet soft, add a splash of water.
Depending on the consistency of your balsamic reduction, you might need to add more while the beetroot and onion is baking. The end result needs to be very dark in colour. The beetroot and onion should be soft and not crispy.
To assemble the salad:
In separate bowls or plates or on one large platter, arrange the red quinoa. Add the balsamic roasted red onion and beetroot, then the sweet potato wedges on top. Add goats cheese pieces, the crushed pistachios and the salt and pepper.
You can either serve the salad completely cold, or you can heat it up in the oven until the goats cheese melts (just make sure to add the pistachios after you have heated up the salad as it might burn).
Plantains – available all day, every day
Plantain is a staple in Nigeria. Technically plantains are a banana variety, but most people refer to the dessert (sweet) bananas as ‘bananas’ and the starchy bananas as ‘plantains’. Bananas and plantains do not have seasons, like most other fruit, but are available all year round. As mentioned in my previous post, First Month in Lagos, Nigeria, plantains are more starchy than ordinary bananas and I am yet to see plantains served in desserts. They are normally served as a savoury snack.
My Mama’s food knowledge is endless!
My mother made something very similar when we were visiting them earlier this year (read about our trip to KZN here). That specific evening we hosted a big get-together for our friends we have not seen in ages. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed this dish, especially my vegetarian friend, Henelle. Watching my mother cook this dish, I noticed how simple it was to prepare. My mother gave me the recipe, but somewhere along the line, it got lost. I played around with this dish a few Meat-free Mondays and came up with my own version. CONTINUE READING