With local lettuce now in season, flavoured herbal olive oils and fruit vinegars are so inviting to try on salads. While some brands of these items are available at grocery stores, a broader selection can be purchased at specialty shops.
Make it a meal with a combination of a head of leafy lettuce and seasonal berries. Add prepared berry quinoa and chicken or ham.
Once you have the ingredients for the dressing on hand, this dish is super quick to make. If making it for dinner, add olive bread, garlic bread, or bread sticks.
The strawberry balsamic vinegar can be substituted for any other seasonal fruit vinegar, such as raspberry, pear, blueberry, apple, or tangerine. The berry quinoa can also be eaten on its own, either for lunch or as a side dish.
Very Berry Quinoa Salad Bowl
Strawberry Basil Dressing
125 ml (1/2 cup) basil extra virgin olive oil
125 ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
175 ml (1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp) strawberry balsamic vinegar
50 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
10 ml (2 tsp) teaspoon dried basil
15 ml (1 tbsp) dried powdered ginger
15 ml (1 tbsp) poppy seeds (optional)
25 to 50 ml (2 to 4 tbsp) honey
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
Pepper, freshly grounded
125 ml (1/2 cup) quinoa
250 ml (1 cup) water
250 ml to 500 ml (1 to 2 cups) berries, any combination (dice strawberries)
1 cucumber, diced
25 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
250 ml (1 cup) fresh parsley or 10 ml (2 tsp) dried
Pinch of salt
25 to 40 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) basil olive oil or non-flavoured olive oil
25 ml (2 tbsp) Strawberry basil dressing (optional)
Prepare quinoa by boiling water and adding quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is evaporated. Stir, place in a bowl, and let cool. Mix remaining ingredients with quinoa. Taste before adding additional salt, oil, or dressing.
Very Berry Salad
4 mini leaf lettuce heads or l large leaf lettuce head
250 to 500 g (1 to 2 cups) diced cooked chicken or ham
125 ml (1/2 cup) sliced black olives
Strawberry basil dressing
Cut the very bottom stem off of the lettuce head and rinse well while holding the head intact. Place in a bowl large enough to hold the lettuce, with some room to put the salad ingredients in the centre of the lettuce head. Remove the centre leaves if the lettuce head is too full to stuff. Arrange the remaining lettuce leaves on top and around the side of the bowl, leaving the centre open. In the centre, place a layer of quinoa, meat, olives, and then more quinoa. Serve in individual bowls or one large bowl. Add dressing just before serving.