This is a quick and easy salad with a tasty, Asian-style dressing using sesame oil and soy sauce. I wanted to make use of the abundance of fall produce, so fennel, carrot, kale and cilantro are the featured guests. You can always use parsley as a substitute for the cilantro if cilantro’s not your thing. The salad makes for a fantastic side dish or a base for additional ingredients depending on what is in season or in your fridge (see below for variations).
Make this salad on the weekend, and you will be set for a few weekday lunches. You can also transform this salad into quesadilla filling for dinner! Just leave off the dressing, add some mashed beans for more protein- they will also act as a binder to keep the filling together, then top with cheese. Use corn tortillas for gluten free quesadillas.
Variations: top with roasted sweet potatoes/yams, peppers, beets or asparagus or snow peas in season, pak choi greens, or cashews and seeds
½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed, cooked and cooled
1 small bulb fennel, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
Juice of ½ a small lemon
¼ of a small red onion, peeled
10 kale leaves, stems removed
2-3 sprigs cilantro- leaves only, finely chopped
For the Dressing:
¼ tsp sesame oil
1.5 Tbsps soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (could do half lemon juice for added nutrition)
1 Tbsp neutral oil (canola or olive oil works well)
sea salt – 2 big pinches
freshly cracked black pepper
1.Add the quinoa to a small pot of boiling water. Cover with lid, then turn the heat down to 1 or 2. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, but keep the lid on for another 5 minutes to allow the quinoa to absorb any additional water. Cool before making the salad.
3.Mix the lemon juice into the shredded carrot to prevent browning, and combine with the quinoa
4.Whisk the dressing
5.Add the remaining veg to a large bowl and toss with the quinoa
6.Pour the dressing over top and stir well