A very nutritious, refreshing and filling summer salad with berries, melon, greens and a wonderful, tangy mango dressing.
The past month I’ve done something I never thought I’d do; I’ve been travelling alone. China, Hong Kong and Japan. I suddenly had the money and time, so I decided to just go for it. And what an adventure it has been. To be fair, I didn’t travel completely on my own. I met up with 12 other amazing people from all over the world in Beijing and 13 new in Tokyo – all complete strangers. The only thing I knew was that they all wanted to travel the world just like me.
I’ve learned so much, had innumerable amazing experiences, met the sweetest people and, as a bonus, talked nothing but English for a month, the longest period of time ever, and I can really feel how much my spoken English have improved, which is absolutely fantastic since I love that language.
One funny thing that hit me while I was gone: No matter how big your desire for wanderlust is, no matter how much you love another culture and no matter how absolutely mouthwatering the local food is you always, always, always, miss your food at home. I’ve met people who were willing to drink water from a tank with a fermented snake, order things they had no clue what was and try the most awful and morbid snacks from markets, because that’s what you do when you travel.
I’ve had the most wonderful fried dishes seasoned with stuff I can’t tell what was if my life depended on it in China, eaten the most delicious traditional banquet where every single dish was unknown in Japan and tried the weirdest berries. And yet every single person, including myself, wouldn’t shut up about how much they missed food at home.
Which is why I didn’t hesitate to make this cornucopia of a salad filled with quinoa, fresh summer vegetables, melon and a ton of berries as soon as I walked in the door.
The salad is heavily inspired by this salad by Half Baked Harvest, but still so different (especially the dressing), that I dare call it my own.
Quinoa Berry Summer Salad w/ Thai Inspired Mango Dressing
1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water + ½ tsp. salt (or 2,5 cups cooked quinoa)
1 package fresh, leafy greens
1 big, thick slice of watermelon
3 cups berries of choice (I used blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrant)
3 cups cherry tomatoes (I used a mix of yellow and red)
4 tbsp. pine nuts
1 small ripe mango
2 tbsp. rice wine winegar
Juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce (or tamari sauce)
1 small chilli
1 big chink of ginger
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup water (eventually a bit more, depending on how thick you want the dressing)
- Start by cooking the quinoa by mixing quinoa, water and salt and boiling over low heat for 20 minutes (or until all liquid has been absorbed). Let cool completely.
- Make the dressing by skinning and cubing the mango and dump everything together in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Eventually add more water, if you want a thinner dressing. Cover and put in the fridge until use.
- Rinse all the greens and berries. Dry the salad, cut the tomatoes into halves and cube the watermelon and cucumber.
- Mix together cooled quinoa, greens, tomatoes, berries and cubed watermelon and cucumber. Roast the pine nuts and add them on top of the salad. Garnish with edible flowers (or as in my case just flowers which I made sure not to eat, hehe) and serve with the dressing on the side.