I took a drive into the mountains my bones call home for a creekside Appalachian picnic. The main affair was my new favourite wholegrain salad, a mix of quinoa and caramelised roasted parsnip and fennel with the crunch of sprouts, tamari-roasted pepitas, shaved shallot, and all soaked in a simple raw honey vinaigrette with luscious 5-minute eggs on top.
- 1½ cups dried quinoa, rinsed
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) chunks
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 firm, tart apple, cut into ½ in (1 cm) chunks (optional)
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup sprouts, such as sunflower or alfaalfa
- ¼ cup tamari-roasted or plain pepitas
- 1 small shallot, shaved or sliced thin
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- zest of one lemon
- juice of two lemons or ¼ cup
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup raw honey (or to taste, sometimes I use as much as ⅓ cup)
- a three finger pinch of kosher salt (or to taste)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 15 minutes
Heat the oven to 225ºC.
Toss the fennel and parsnip with the olive oil on a sheet tray and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside while until the oven comes to temperature, then roast for 25 minutes, stirring half way through, or until veggies are browned and tender but not mushy. You want them to hold up in the salad and still have a little bite. If they're tender but not yet brown, pop them under the broiler for a minute or two to get color on them and avoid over-cooking.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. In a medium pot combine the quinoa with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, let sit an additional five minutes covered, and then fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, make your 5-minute eggs. Cover eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, immediately remove from the heat, cover the pot, and allow them to sit for 5 minutes. While they sit, prepare an ice bath. Gently remove the eggs to the ice bath after the five minutes and peel once cool. Slice in half and sprinkle with a bit of course salt and set aside.
Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a bowl and then slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Once the quinoa and vegetables are cooked, allow them to both cool to room temperature and then combine them in a bowl. Toss in the apples, if using. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine thoroughly. Taste and add additional salt or lemon juice if desired. Top the salad with the sprouts, pepitas, feta, shaved shallot, chopped parsley, and eggs. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe from Local Milk by Beth Kirby, with photographs by Beth Kirby.