Epic Summer Salad

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Ever since Isac learnt how to walk and talk, he and his sister have become like two asteroids, constantly spinning around each other with a kind of magnetic force keeping them both together and apart. If one of them goes in a new direction or another room or starts playing with new toys, the other one follows. It’s a special kind of bond between siblings that oftenthough not always is wonderful to watch. Whenever they get too close, friction starts to build between them and within seconds the happiest of laughs has turned into the saddest of cries. My sister and I were the same, although, truth be told, we were more like two meteorites on a colliding course every day. I look at Elsa and Isac playing together, try to mediate when they fight and comfort them when they cry. And then I try envisioning what it will be like when another, smaller asteroid enters their orbits and takes part in that spinning dance around each other. I imagine more cries. More fights. And more laughter.

To be honest, all change frightens me. It’s in my nature – in love with what we have now and scared of how the future will be. Although for some weird reason, Luise’s and my life tend to always be in a constant state of change, with our work, our family, our travels and our home. At this point, I have almost gotten used to it. I try to swallow my fear, telling myself that change makes life more interesting. I am quite certain it’s going to be challenging with a new baby, but as long as we get laughter along with the cries, I think we are going to be alright.

I won’t be able to make a clever connection between today’s recipe and my ramblings about siblings and change. What is on our minds and on our plates sometimes simply don’t match, so let’s just move on to the recipe.

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We have been working on and off with Stockholm based food store Urban Deli during the last two years, turning some of our recipes into healthy takeaway boxes. This summer salad is our latest edition and it turned out so epic that we wanted to share the recipe here on the blog as well.

We have built the salad on a delicious base of mixed cauliflower, quinoa, sweet peas and a herb vinaigrette, which makes it both light and nourishing at the same time. It’s then topped with our favourite produce of the season – asparagus, strawberries, radishes, mixed lettuce and avocado. The salad is finished off with labneh balls, which is a strained yogurt based cheese that adds a tangy creaminess to the mix, as well as pumpkin seeds for some crunch. It’s a real treat and it looks really summery too.

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Quinoa & Cauliflower Salad with Labneh, Asparagus & Strawberries
Serves 4

Labneh can be found in delis or Middle-Eastern food stores. We have provided instructions on how to make labneh at home. It takes at least 24h, but if you want to make this salad today you can also replace the labneh with feta cheese or dollops of thick yogurt. Or simply leave it out.

100 g / 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa
250 ml / 1 cup water + a pinch sea salt
1/2 cauliflower head + boiling water
1 cup / 150 g sweet green peas (thawed frozen works fine too)

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in 3 pieces
5 radishes
2 avocados
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
250 g / 1 1/2 cups strawberries
70-100 g / 3 cups loosely packed mixed baby lettuce, rinsed
12-16 mini labneh balls (see instructions below)

Herb vinaigrette:
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
10 sprigs mint, leaves picked
60 ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice
1 tbsp applecider vinegar
sea salt & pepper

Preparing the quinoa and cauliflower: Place rinsed quinoa in a saucepan, add water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat immediately and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, set aside and let cool. Coarsely chop the cauliflower and place the florets and stem in a food processor or blender and process until fine rice-like texture. Do it in batches if you have a small food processor. Place the ‘rice’ in a fine mesh strainer and pour over boiling water (use an electric kettle), let drain and cool. Meanwhile make the herb vinaigrette. Finely chop parsley and mint and place in a glass jar. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix. Season to taste. When both quinoa and cauliflower ‘rice’ are completely cold, combine them with peas and half of the herb vinaigrette in a large mixing bowl. Then prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.

Assembling the salad: Steam or cook the asparagus for 1-2 minutes. Thinly shave the radishes and cube the avocados. Heat a dry frying pan and lightly toast the pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Slice the strawberries. Assemble the salad by arranging the quinoa cauliflower mixture on a large serving platter. Scatter with asparagus, radishes, avocados, pumpkin seeds, strawberries and lettuce. Arrange labneh balls over the top and place a small jar of the leftover herb vinaigrette.

Labneh
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Place a large sieve or a colander over a bowl and line it with a cheese cloth, muslin or any thin cloth. Add salt to the yogurt and stir around so it’s evenly distributed. Scoop the yogurt into the middle of the cheesecloth. Gather the edges so the yogurt is covered and tie a string around the cloth. Leave it in the sieve and place in the fridge for 24 hours up to 3 days. The longer it stands, the firmer the labneh will become. If you are using it as a spread, 24 hours is usually enough. Let it sit in the sieve for another day if you are making labneh balls. Gently squeeze out any excess liquid into the bowl. Shape balls or serve it in a jar on the side with a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper or dukkah on top.

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In case you live in Stockholm or are visiting this summer and feel too summer-lazy to cook this yourself, you can pick up this salad at any of Urban Deli’s stores. Radishes are swapped for pickled red onion for storage reasons but apart from that it’s pretty damn close to our original recipe.

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PS! One last thing. We just wanted to mention that TODAY is official UK publication day for Green Kitchen Smoothies! We have posted a bunch of short videos on our youtube channel, showcasing how to do some of the smoothies. And more is on the way. If you haven’t ordered our book already here is a link to it on Amazon!

32 Comments

  • I must agree that vegetarian diet can be a key to solving all health and skin care problems. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. Cheers, Allison
  • I think this would be a new in my list. As a salad lover, my hobbies is to collect new recipes and i must say you share an awesome one. Great work.
  • Wow!! amazing recipe, can’t wait to make it!! especially when we make it with all colors of quinoa seeds :)
  • This salad looks so good! Can you share the nutritional facts? It looks like a delicious healthy salad! My wife eats salads all the time but I know she doesn't enjoy them all the time because they are kind of bland. This is definitely one we will be trying
  • Wow!! amazing recipe, Now i can eat healthy and delicious to. I am going to make it my self..
  • I am always looking for more cauliflower and asparagus recepies, so this looks like a nice one to try. Thank you are the ideas.
  • One of the best things about summer time is you get to try various nutritious and healthy diets. Summer can be the perfect season to charge up your body and establish healthy living. Plus, it is one of the best methods of to get rid of the winter fat that constantly makes you less active and recharged.
  • I LOOOOVE this salad! Thank you so much for posting a recipe for it, can’t wait to make it!!!! :)
  • Jennifer L.
    Congratulations! My girls are 8 and 4 and just recently (3 weeks ago), welcomed a baby boy into our lives. It changes the dynamics for everyone, but so much for the better! The girls are in love with their new brother. This is likely our last baby, so I am soaking up the infant stage and savoring every nap-on-mommy opportunity that arises. Having two big girls, it is so easy to see how the time flies and how they grow so fast. Last night we saw my oldest in her first big stage performance dancing, grooving and hula hooping, while my middle is just learning to swim across the pool and the baby is trying to hold his head up--all so different and so lovely. I keep telling myself and everyone--there IS enough love to go around--most definitely. We look forward to meeting your new person from afar. You're going to have to update the header soon to be "Healthy vegetarian recipes by David, Luise, Elsa and Isac" since I imagine he'll be contributing soon! Salad! We'll make some salad too! It's all about simple foods these days. Hugs for you all from Jennifer who was in Santa Cruz and is now on the big island of Hawaii!
  • hey, never knew salad preparation can be this interesting. Thanks for the share. NP: I'm trying out this evening.
  • Great post, I really enjoy Quinoa in my salads, now if there were only a way to manifest pictures, cause I am ready to eat! Light and Nutritious

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