Quirky Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Salads in jars are trending at the moment and I think it’s a super idea.  It’s perfect for lunch or dinner on the go, taking to BBQ’s, picnics or school lunches and can be prepared a day or two ahead.

The salad depends on the order of layering to avoid it from becoming soggy.  Start with the dressing and follow with a non-absorbent veggie.  Continue layering and finish with the most absorbent veggie.  When you empty the jar everything will be in reverse.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Kernels of 1 corn
½ cup uncooked red quinoa
1 cup water (or chicken or vegetable stock)
½ small pumpkin, diced (or sweet potato)
Handful of ricotta cheese, crumbled
1 handful pine nuts
1 handful spinach leaves

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Cook the corn, allow to cool down, and cut off the kernels.  Cook the quinoa in water (or stock) and allow to cool down.  Roast the pumpkin for about ½ hour, turning halfway through, and allow to cool down.

In a screw top jar or similar start with your choice of dressing and follow with the corn, quinoa, pumpkin (or sweet potato), cheese, pine nuts and spinach leaves.  Close the jar and stand upright.  When ready to serve tip the salad upside down on to a plate and enjoy!

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Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

You might be asking what Riscotta balls are?  I decided to mix risotto with ricotta cheese and came up with the name Riscotta.  They’re inspired by Arancini balls which are usually filled with parmesan cheese.  They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with plenty of texture.  Let me know what you think.

They are a bit messy to roll into balls but well worth it in the end.  I made the mistake of removing some from the oil with a pronged slotted spoon and ended up stabbing them to death.  Oops!  Just use a regular slotted spoon.  LOL.

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

Photographed by Deborah

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes 24

300g pumpkin, diced
4 cups homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock (I used chicken stock)
2 tsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1 garlic, crushed
1½ cups Arborio rice
Roughly 50g spinach, stems removed
½ cup pine nuts
Homemade ricotta cheese
Rice crumbs (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 200°C.

Roast your pumpkin for about ½ hour until tender.  In the meantime in a saucepan bring your stock to a simmer.  In a separate pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 mins.  Add 1 cup of stock at a time to the rice until absorbed.  Turn off the heat.  Add the pumpkin, spinach and pine nuts and stir in gently until the spinach has wilted.

Lay the rice out on a baking tray to cool a little.  Roll into balls about a ¼ cup in size and insert some ricotta cheese into the centre.  Roll in rice crumbs (optional).  Fry in vegetable oil (fully immersed) until golden brown.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup

Is it safe for dogs to eat pumpkin or sweet potato?

Today being a sunny day I decided to eat outside.  I put my soup on the table and went inside to grab a spoon.  When I returned, the neighbour’s little dog, Shep greeted me at the door with an orange goatee and a trail of soup droppings.  He looked so cute and innocent.  I wish I’d thought to take a photo.

There’s nothing better than a bowl of warm soup on a winter’s day.  Shep must have thought so too.  I would have let him finish it but not sure if it’s good for him.  Oh and if you’re wondering, I threw out his serving and gave myself a fresh bowl.  LOL.

You can substitute sweet potato with potato if you like.  It’s just as good.  Enjoy!  I think Shep did.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

(Makes 7½ cups)

750g pumpkin, cubed
2 leeks or 2 large onions, sliced
250g sweet potato, cubed
4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
1 cup cream
Salt & pepper

Place pumpkin, leeks or onions, sweet potato and chicken stock into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Let it cool a little and purée with a blender until smooth.

Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for another 5 mins.  I usually add a dollop of cream before serving, swirl it around and garnish with parsley.