For those of you who participated in Virtual Vegan Potluck this past Saturday, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. The scope of recipes that was brought to the table was remarkable, as was the care and expertise with which each dish was presented. I was really inspired by how creative – and in many cases, outright gourmet – the dishes were, flying in the face of any negative stereotype of ‘vegan potluck food’ one might hold. Vegan bloggers are clearly a talented lot! If you’re interested in checking out the potluck from the beginning, you can do so here.
I also was super impressed by how smoothly the potlcuk came together – although I’m sure Annie at An Unrefined Vegan and Somer at Vedged Out, who coordinate the event, would disagree; just a guess, but rounding up 160+ bloggers from around the world and figuring out the logistics of getting them to post in unison must be a bit of
migraine headache. I admire her dedication to making the whole thing happen!
My sweet tooth was given full expression with the Salted Triple Chocolate Brownies I made for the potluck. Maybe the best thing about vegan baking is that you can sneak spoonfuls of the batter without risking salmonella poisoning, something I fully took advantage of while I was making my brownies. By the time I’d finished photographing and then sampling the final product, I felt like I’d definitely reached my sugar quota for the week, maybe even the month! Whenever that happens – and it certainly wasn’t the first time – I feel the need to ‘undo the damage’ wrought by the demonic baked good in question via a super healthy concoction of some sort.
… Which is where this salad comes into the picture. Being a quinoa salad, it’s inherently nutritious – but with the bold flavours of marinated artichoke hearts, sweet balsamic-roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, lemon zest and crunchy radishes and toasted sunflower seeds, it’s anything but rabbit food! It makes a satisfying lunch on its own, and is also great as a side dish – but maybe the best way to enjoy this salad – and I only discovered this with the leftovers – is to bundle it up in a wrap and eat it that way. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – bread of any description always takes things to the next level!
Recipe: Quinoa and Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad | With Lemon Vinaigrette and Toasted Sunflower Seeds
Makes 4-6 servings
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 medium lemon (zest your lemon first and set the zest aside; you’ll need it for the salad)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 25 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Zest of 1 medium lemon
- 6 medium basil leaves, chiffonaded
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
- 4 radishes, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup plain sunflower seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roast cherry Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Place in oven for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and collapsed (tomatoes will leak a lot of juice while roasting – it’s OK)
- Rem0ve from oven and set aside to cool.
- While tomatoes are roasting, combine rinsed quinoa and 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and let quinoa cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
Prepare Lemon Vinaigrette
- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, coriander and salt in a small bowl and whisk everything until thoroughly combined.
- Set aside until needed.
Toast Sunflower Seeds
- Place sunflower seeds in a small skillet over medium heat.
- Tossing continuously, toast seeds until just golden brown (this will only take a couple minutes – be careful, they burn easily!).
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Place cooled quinoa, shallots, artichokes, radishes, basil, lemon zest and toasted sunflower seeds in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
- Gently fold in roasted tomatoes and juices from roasting pan.
- Drizzle lemon vinaigrette into bowl toss until everything is combined.
- Serve, topping each portion with freshly ground black pepper. Eat!
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