Strawberry, goats cheese and quinoa salad

Strawberry, goats cheese and quinoa saladThe River Cafe’s suggestion of eating strawberries with balsamic was the first time I’d considered strawberries as anything but a dessert-only affair. Once you overcome the initial shock, it opens up a lot of culinary doors – and many a salad recipe. After all, tomatoes are a fruit, so why not add strawberries to your salad?

We’re all about quinoa at the moment at we try to reduce wheat in our diet: quinoa is actually a seed belonging to the same family as spinach and beets. The UN has even declared 2013 the international year of quinoa, whatever that may mean. Toasting it gently in a dry pan before cooking it gives it a great nutty flavour.

This recipe makes a refreshing and light summer lunch, twinned with a simple poached salmon. I hoped it would encourage the anti-salad toddler to gobble up the goodness but alas, he saw straight through me. The adults around the table we more enthusiastic about the salad at least.

The flavour of the lemon shallot dressing strengthens with time, so I made a double batch and kept the rest in the fridge to use in other salads.

We adapted this recipe from an original by Edible Perspective – check out the article for variations on this theme, including skewering the ingredients as an attractive finger food.

Strawberry, goats cheese and quinoa salad

  • ??g quinoa
  • 300g watermelon
  • 230g strawberries
  • 150g goats cheese
  • Handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 50g sliced almonds
  • Honey (optional)
  • Lemon, strawberries, salt and pepper, to garnish

Lemon shallot dressing

  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 60ml fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  1. Cook the quinoa then leave it to cool to room temperature. Keep it in the fridge if preparing in advance.
  2. Make the lemon shallot dressing by combing all the ingredients in a jar, shaking it vigorously to combine it together, then store it in the fridge whilst you make the salad.
  3. Toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan then leave to cool.
  4. Chop the fruit into small chunks.
  5. Arrange the quinoa and fruit on a large platter, crumble the goats cheese on top, add the basil and almonds, and combine gently.
  6. Add the lemon shallot dressing and mix it into the salad. Drizzle with honey, if desired.
  7. Garnish with whole strawberries and chunks of lemon.

Strawberry, goat cheese and basil salad
Strawberry salad before it's mixed up

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