Adventure day salad...
Ok, so I know you are meant to go on picnics in summer… but here’s the thing, I love them far too much to confine them to just one time of the year.
Granted, the weather is a lot colder at this time of the year… trust me I feel that… however, I have started to realise winter picnics are so under-rated.
Summer picnics are great, but the optimist that I am, they sometimes let me down. I always come in with such high expectations of sunshine and clear skies, yet living in Northern Ireland, the reality is usually wind and rain; I think I may have developed slight trust issues with summer picnics over the years…
On the other hand, winter picnics have the unique ability to surprise me and exceed my expectations. I am more prepared and expectant for bad weather. Therefore, when that low, winter sun hits, there is no better feeling! Another advantage of winter days out is the sunrise and sunset times. You don’t have to get up crazy early to catch the morning show of the sun rising to start the day, and sun begins to set in time for a beautiful matinee, often going down, just as we are driving home or to a restaurant for a yummy, warm meal.
Therefore, I have come to the conclusion, 2019 has made this sunshine loving, always cold girl fall in love with winter picnics and adventures…I never thought I’d say that!
To make these adventure days a regular thing, I can’t always afford to eat out every meal, but I love having the option to stay out for the whole day. Therefore, if you eat out for one and prep the other two meals to bring with you, adventure days can be 100% student/ young baker- artist friendly!
This is one of my favourite salad recipes that made our latest winter picnic super yummy!
Adventure day salad:
2 handfuls of rocket
1 handful of fresh, roughly chopped coriander
1 cup quinoa
1 handful of green beans
2 small sweet potatoes
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp tahini
1 tsp honey
squeeze juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of both, toasted flaked almonds and pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 160 fan
wash and chop your sweet potato into thin slices (I like to keep mine in thin circles, with the skin on, chopping any big ones in half). Place on a baking tray with 2 tbsp of olive oil and your paprika, stir to make sure all the potato is covered. Bake for a bout 20- 25 mins, stirring occasionally.
Next chop your peppers into thin slices. Add these to the sweet potato after about 10 minutes.
Now you can start to cook your quinoa. wash your quinoa and cook in 2 cups of boiling water for about 15- 20 mins/ until the grains are transparent. Chop your green beans (about 2cm pieces, and add to quinoa for last 3 minutes of cooking). when cooked remove from the hob and allow to cool.
5. While all of this is cooking prepare your dressing and seeds. Add all of your dressing ingredients to a small jug and stir to mix. Toast your sunflower seeds and flaked almonds in a small pan with a small pinch of salt and pepper, until your seeds split and almonds are golden, and set aside to cool.
6. when your sweet potato and peppers are cooked, allow them to cool along with the quinoa and green beans.
7. Now, assemble your salad. For taking on the go, I use reusable Tupperware. first mix your rocket, coriander, quinoa, green beans, sweet potato and roasted peppers, all together in a big bowl. Then portion an even amount into each box. I then sprinkle over some feta cheese, toasted almonds, seeds and pomegranate.
8. Finally, if you are eating your salad right away, drizzle over your dressing and enjoy!-However, if your are taking your salad on a picnic, transfer your dressing to a small tub or bottle and drizzle just before you eat. This helps to keep your salad fresh!
I hope this recipe allows you to find a new love for winter picnics!
***Top tip: if it is too cold to eat outside, park up by the sea, bring lots of cosy blankets, put on your favourite playlist, and enjoy your picnic in the car! ***