Mediterranean quinoa salad and a Swiss Christmas.
Growing up in a Swiss household, it was tradition to celebrate on the eve before Christmas. This meant we got to open our presents before everyone else, which, as a kid was a huge bonus. It was at these moments I felt extremely lucky to be Swiss.
Only thing was, there were rules to obey and chores to complete before we could even think of opening our presents. This consisted of having dinner first (everything on our plate had to be eaten) followed by clearing the table, washing the dishes, drying the dishes, wiping down the bench tops and dinner table and tidying everything up.
It was utter torture getting to the opening presents part!
Even though we’re all grown up now and living in different places, we have continued on with our tradition so we get to celebrate Christmas twice. Hopefully all our children will pass this onto their families.
So, I’m in beautiful New Zealand at the moment staying with my sister Sandra and her family. I’ve experienced two firsts while here: Sitting at the dinner table during a 4.2 magnitude earthquake; and eating venison. Yes, welcome to Christchurch! It doesn’t get dark till about 10 pm here in Summer which means extra outdoor play time for the boys.
For our Christmas Eve dinner I made a light yet satisfying side dish which I want to share with you. My Mediterranean quinoa salad goes perfectly with any BBQ or Summer meal and doesn’t leave you feeling bloated after. Quinoa is very bland on its own so the trick is to treat it as you would rice and add lots of flavour.
What is quinoa?
Not a grain, quinoa is in fact a seed and is native to South America. Its nutrition profile is so high it’s deemed a superfood. It has a mild nutty flavour and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. It’s covered in a bitter coating called saponin (which deters the birds from eating it) so it’s best to rinse quinoa before cooking. You can find it in any health food store and in most supermarkets in the health food aisle.
Enjoy the rest of your holidays.
Love Tash x
Why this is so good for you
Quinoa helps prevent heart disease, relieves constipation, helps increase brain function, aids in tissue growth and repair, helps to alleviate migraines, helps reduce type 2 diabetes, lowers inflammation and increases stamina.
Onions improve digestion, relieve constipation, cure scurvy, help combat diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent heart attack, heart disease and strokes, help heal peptic and oral ulcers, help relieve arthritis; and help cure prostate and colon cancer.
Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduces blood pressure, helps with asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics and lowers the risk of most types of cancer.
Olives control blood pressure, protect cells, reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, protects against cancer, reduces anaemia and enhances fertility.
Capsicums helps fight food poisoning, helps prevent aging, helps prevent stroke, helps prevent bladder, cervix, pancreas and prostate cancers, helps reduce gastrointestinal problems, increases metabolism, helps prevent macular degeneration, helps eliminate migraines and headaches; and helps prevent asthma and lung infections.
Tomatoes aid in the prevention of prostate cancer, reduce the risk of stroke, protect against loss of muscle mass, preserve bone mineral density, reduce the formation of kidney stones and keep bowel movements regular.
Chillis fight sinus congestion, aid digestion, help relieve migraines, muscle, joint and nerve pain, control blood pressure and aid in metabolism for weight loss.
Lemons improve digestion, relieve constipation, cure scurvy, help combat diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent heart attack, heart disease and strokes, help heal peptic and oral ulcers, help relieve arthritis; and help cure prostate and colon cancer.
Pine nuts prevent blood clots, are good for the heart, maintains hormone health, strengthens connective tissues, builds strong teeth and bones.
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to packet directions
- Olive oil, coconut oil or oil of choice for frying
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3/4 cup - 1 cup chopped semi dried or sun dried tomatoes
- 3/4 cup - 1 cup sliced fresh kalamata olives or olives of choice (if using bottled in vinegar, make sure it's gluten free)
- 1 cup chopped char grilled capsicum
- Optional: 2 small red chillis, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1 /12 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 3/4 cup pan toasted pine nuts
- 3 lemon wedges, quartered
- Freshly ground sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Handful of chopped parsley
- Cook onion in frying pan till translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Cook quinoa with lid on until saucepan is dry. Take off heat and leave it to continue steaming with the lid on. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add all ingredients together except for the lemons and mix.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and place the lemon wedges around the edge of the bowl. Guests can choose if they want to squeeze lemon over the top or not.
- Note: Even tastier the next day when the flavours have had more time to combine.