Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Quinoa & Red Rice Salad with Cashew Nuts & Citrus Ginger Dressing (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Jackson 5 ~ I Want You Back
Selena ~ Dreaming Of You
Marvin Gaye ~ Thats The Way Love Is
Siouxsie & The Banshees ~ The Killing Jar
Radiohead ~ Creep
Black Stone Cherry ~ Hell And High Water
Sinatra ~ The Lady Is A Tramp
George Michael ~ Cowboys And Angels
Garbage ~ Fix Me Now
Shania Twain ~ Thank You Baby!
Kelis ~ Milkshake
Beverley Knight ~ Keep This Fire Burning
Nickelback ~ Leader Of Men
Evanescence ~ My Heart Is Broken

Well you can't escape it...the festive season is coming. And yes it is all over the top and blown out of all proportion. It saddens me watching young parents desperately trying to keep up with each other by trying to buy everything their children demand. So I step back from it all the best I can. I am by no means a Grinch...I do love many aspects of the festive season. I look forward to the chance of spending extra time with those I love. I get great pleasure from cooking for them all..I know, I's some people idea of hell. But for me its a pure pleasure and I like to purchase the vegetarian magazines around this time of  December. For no other reason than curiosity....I like to sit with a pot of spiced apple chamomile tea and take my time reading every article and recipe. Yes, I do get frustrated that most of the recipes are laden in dairy cheese and eggs. But I love a challenge and a lot of the time I get busy veganising the recipes. And then sometimes...just sometimes...there is a recipe that is naturally vegan and I can just make it straight away. Like today's recipe....

......I bought my copy of BBC Vegetarian Christmas Magazine at Kings Cross Station as we were about to board our train home after our lovely weekend in London. Whilst hoards were queueing up to have their photos taken at Harry Potters 9 3/4 Platform...I was in the news agent next door with my head between the covers of my magazine. Well technically their magazine because I hadn't bought it at that point. Ooops! After my purchase was made. we made our way to our settled into our plush seats and after a lovely man brought me a chamomile tea I got lost in the pages. There were many recipes that looked great and 96% of them were veggie as opposed to vegan but this salad stood out from the rest. It was vegan, it was packed with some of my favourite ingredients but it was most definitely what I call and would label as a High Days & Holidays recipes. There is a high portion of oil in it which ordinarily would put me off but as I am cooking for myself and Ann right now I decided to give it try....with reduced amounts of oil. 

Now it would be safe to say this salad takes work but I would happily put in the effort for such a tasty dish. Set amongst a table of festive fare I would reach for it every time. I enjoyed making every stage of it and felt a great sense of achievement when I gave it a final stir before it went in the fridge until lunch time. And when I took my first tasting I felt slightly emotional as the flavours burst through filling my senses with much loved memories of Christmas past. It is a deeply satisfying salad but its the citrus dressing that pulls it all together. The quinoa and red rice are full of body, the roasted red onions are comforting, the slight sharpness of the spring onion were surprisingly welcome (not a raw onion fan but in this I loved it! Who knew?..), the warmth of the ginger in the dressing was pleasing and then the citrus from the orange lifted each mouthful to a new level. Can you tell I loved this salad? And it is quite a generous amount so we a portion of lunch, my Mum took home a portion with her and there is still a sizeable container filled with the leftovers. But due to the high oil content its most definitely a High Days & Holidays salad but something special to look forward to on those special festive days. If I make no other recipe from the magazine it would still be worth every penny it cost. 

Quinoa & Red Rice Salad with Cashew Nuts & Citrus Ginger Dressing

Quinoa & Red Rice Salad with Cashew Nuts & Citrus Ginger Dressing    Serves 6
(Recipe from BBC Vegetarian Christmas Magazine)

2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into wedges, root intact
3 tbsp olive oil (I used 1.5 tbsp)
1 tsp brown sugar (I used a brown sugar/stevia blend)

60g cashew nuts
200g quinoa 
200g red cargo rice (Camargue)
100g raisins (I left these out)
2 handfuls of rocket (argula)
4 spring onions, thinly sliced

For the dressing:
5 tbsp olive oil (I used 2.5 tbsp)
1 tbsp sesame oil
freshly squeezed juice and zest from one orange
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated

Heat the oven to 325'F/170'C/GM 3. Put the onions wedges onto a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and season well with salt and black pepper. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, until meltingly soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, scatter the cashew nuts on a separate baking sheet and toast in the same oven as the onion for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once you have roasted the cashew nuts, spread the quinoa evenly on another baking sheet and toast in the same oven for 10 minutes. 

Set two saucepans with salted water over a a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Add the red rice to one pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the toasted quinoa to the other pan and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain off the water in both pans using a fine, mesh sieve. Transfer the quinoa and rice to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

To make the citrus dressing, mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, using a whisk to emulsify the oils with the orange juice and vinegar. Pour the dressing into the bowl with the rice and quinoa. Add the roasted red onions, toasted cashew nuts, raisins, rocket, and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper and serve. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week has had moments of laughter...


NB: This is not my creation and therefore take no credit for it whatsover. It is the work of BBC Vegetarian Christmas magazine. I thank them for sharing such a great recipe. ~R~