Christmas is over, and I have spent the last week living on chocolate, mince pies, and various forms of potato. Obviously this is brilliant, but I am starting to feel like I should supplement this excellent diet with some food with nutritional value. Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to enjoy working through my Christmas chocolate and all of the traditionally carb-and-cheese-laden foods of the season. I am just going to punctuate it with some fruits and vegetables.
It’s still perfectly possible to have delicious, colourful, healthy meals as we head towards the end of the year. This dish makes use of plenty of seasonal ingredients that are thriving right now, including beetroot, kale, and, if you fancy, mackerel.
The sweetness and sharpness of the citrus here contrast beautifully with the earthiness of the beetroot, and the bright orange, rich purple, and deep green in this dish will bring a bit of life to any winter table. You can make a big batch of this salad and keep it in the fridge to eat alone or with your chosen additional protein for satisfying lunches or light dinners.
This will serve 4-6 people (depending on how hungry you are!) as a side dish.
If you want to use this as a base for a main course, it’s great with pan-fried mackerel fillets (or fish of your choice) or topped with generous discs of goats’ cheese.
Clementines, satsumas, or oranges would also work well in place of tangerines.
100g blanched hazelnuts
4 medium raw beetroot
200g uncooked quinoa, or a 250g cooked quinoa pouch if you prefer – any colour is fine
a good bunch of cavolo nero or kale stalks
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
plenty of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to season
- Set your oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 6. Spread your hazelnuts out on a lipped baking tray and pop them in the oven to toast for five minutes while it heats up.
- Meanwhile, peel your beetroot and cut them into halves (or quarters if they are particularly large). Your hazelnuts should be toasted by now, so take them out of the oven and pop them into a bowl. Put your beetroot on the baking tray and toss it with a generous glug of olive oil, then season generously. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
- While your beetroot cooks, cook your quinoa according to pack instructions (if you’re not using a pre-cooked pouch). Tear your kale leaves from their thick stalks into rough ribbons, and pop them in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with a pinch of sea salt, then massage the leaves for a couple of minutes until they seem darker and shrink down a little.
- Peel your tangerines, then slice them into rounds and put them in the same bowl as the kale. Add the chopped tarragon and cooked quinoa. Finally, roughly chop your hazelnuts, and mix them in. Finish it all off with a couple of tbsps of olive oil stirred through, and taste and season.
- Serve the salad alone for a lighter meal, or top with fish or discs of goats cheese.