This is my favourite summer salad recipe! It’s fresh, bright and summery; serving as the perfect accomplice to a BBQ alongside some chilled Sauvignon blanc. Yaaaaas.
With summer in full-swing there’s loads of tasty produce to play with in the kitchen, with this dish celebrating quintessential items, like juicy cherry tomatoes and corn kernels. The star of the show though is the heat-loving herb basil, which you whip into a super easy zingy pesto to toss through as a salad dressing. While you can make this salad speedy as and just use a store-bought pesto, I recommend making your own - it’s one of those things you cannot beat fresh!
Another thing to love about this salad is that it’s all about the textures and flavours - with each mouthful you’ll get sweet juicy cranberry, crunchy flaked almonds, and zingy herby pesto - delicious.
Quinoa, Cranberry and Pesto Salad
1 cup dry quinoa + 2 cups water
1x 250g pack of cherry tomatoes
1x tin of corn kernels
80g baby spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Juice of a small lemon
4 packed cups basil leaves
1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, or more to taste
1 lemon, juice
Salt, to taste
Olive oil, enough to make a thick paste
1. Place dry quinoa in a sieve and rinse for a minute (this removes the outer coating called saponin, which can impart a bitter taste to the cooked grain).
2. Place quinoa in a pan with 2 cups of water. Turn heat to high, and bring to boil. Once it has reached a full boil, turn the heat down to a medium, place lid on saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. If water hasn’t fully absorbed around this mark, you can switch the heat off and let the quinoa sit in the pan with the lid still on and the water will absorb. Once cooked, remove and let cool.
3. Blitz up the ingredients for the basil pesto into a smooth paste. Put aside.
4. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Open the tin of corn. Drain and rinse.
5. Add to a large serving bowl the quinoa, spinach, cranberries (reserving a few), cherry tomatoes and corn kernels. Dollop over pesto and mix until evenly incorporated. Squeeze over juice of small lemon. Garnish with sliced almonds and reserved cranberries.