Summer is the perfect time for outdoor dining and marking the festive season in Australia.
Barbecues and picnics are a popular way to take advantage of the warmer weather as we get into the swing of summer entertaining.
Deck your Christmas table with these colourful and nutritious salads this festive season – they make a perfect side dish for barbecues, summer gatherings or the traditional Christmas feast.
Spinach and cranberry seasonal salad
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup flaked almonds
¾ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Start by making the dressing. Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined. The mixture will appear opaque.
To toast the sesame seeds, line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle the seeds over the sheet. Bake in moderate oven (160°C) for 10 minutes. These will toast quite quickly – watch them closely so they do not burn.
Place spinach, cranberries and almonds in a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top.
Serve immediately after adding dressing.
Quinoa salad with grilled peaches
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
1 ¾ cups vegetable stock
2 large corn on the cob
2 medium zucchinis
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, diced
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup rocket leaves
12 mint leaves, finely sliced
⅓ cup pomegranate (optional garnish)
Salt and pepper, to season
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 medium lemon
1 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper
In a small saucepan, add the vegetable stock and quinoa. Place the saucepan on a medium heat and allow it to simmer until all the water has absorbed and the grains are al dente. Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to cool.
Rub the grill with coconut oil and place the corn cobs onto the heat. Cook for 20 minutes or until tender and charred. Remove from grill.
Slice the zucchini into long strips, about half a centimetre thick, and place on the grill. After 5 minutes, turn over to cook both sides. The zucchini should be soft and slightly charred. Remove from the grill.
Cut the peaches in half and place them face down on the grill. Depending on the ripeness, these will take 5 – 10 minutes to cook on each side.
Dice the tomato and avocado and set aside. Once the corn, zucchini and peaches have cooled dice them into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare the dressing by juicing the lemon and crushing the garlic. Then place all dressing ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake until well combined. The dressing should form an opaque yellow colour when ready.
In a bowl, combine the quinoa, diced vegetables, rocket, mint and pumpkin seeds. Gently mix and pour the salad dressing over the salad.
To add a festive touch, sprinkle the salad with pomegranate seeds.