I love this kind of salad. It’s my favourite kind to make when people are coming over or to take to a party or pot luck. Why? Because you can choose from so many different grains and so many different flavour/ingredient combos that it’s like a never-ending new dish, except that the idea is totally recycled. Don’t believe me? See here, here, and here.
This particular salad has several winning features. Roasted cherry tomatoes a) look adorable and rustic, and b) add pops of sweetness to every bite. The red onion, caramelised in balsamic vinegar and sugar add even more flavour pow! and compliment the tomatoes ever so well. Then finally the mint does it’s job alongside the spinach adding green, along with a glorious scent and a even more taste explosions.
Take it to your next picnic, pot luck, or… book club. Heck, just make it for dinner.
Roasted Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad
- 9 oz cherry tomatoes
- 8 oz quinoa (1 1/4 cups)
- olive oil
- 14-oz vegetable broth/stock (1 3/4 cups)
- 3/4 cup water
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 handfuls spinach
- 1 bunch mint, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
For the onions:
- 2 small red onions, finely sliced
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Start with the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the tomatoes in half and put on a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt, a twist of black pepper and a pinch of brown sugar. Stir well, making sure all the tomatoes are cut side up and roast for 40 minutes until shriveled and golden.
- Cook the quinoa: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add quinoa and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, onto the onions: Heat a large frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, add the onions and cook on low until completely soft. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and plenty of seasoning and cook for another 5 mins or so until dark, sweet and sticky.
- To assemble the salad, squeeze the lemon juice over the quinoa and add 2-3 tbsp olive oil, the garlic and most of the mint and parsley. Stir well and season to taste.
- Fold in the spinach and tumble onto a large serving platter. Top with roasted tomatoes, onions and the rest of the herbs.
Top tip: Cook the quinoa a day ahead, cover and refrigerate. Bring back to room temperature before assembling rest of salad and serving. But note that the spinach won’t wilt if you do it this way.