This salad has the the perfect balance of sweet and juicy watermelon paired with a smoky citrus oil. This salad is lovely because as long as I have a watermelon and some mint I can make a version of this at any time. The mint really makes this salad and with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper…Voila. But with very few ingredients this salad can go from the ordinary to the extraordinary. I’ve been experimenting with this salad all summer trying to make it fresh and new every time, just to avoid the comment “watermelon salad again?” But this is my favorite version to date. We had some left over lemon chipotle oil from a risotto style barley we make quite often and it will be simple to duplicate since the oil is so easy to make.
This is a delightful summer salad. To be honest we eat this one all year round. In the winter substitute dried apricots for nectarines. Quinoa is by far one of my favourite grains. It is packed with nutrients and it is a complete protein which makes it a genius staple for vegans and vegetarians alike. The trick to quinoa is to rinse it well before cooking. This will make it less bitter. Add a little oil to a pot and add the quinoa. Stirring frequently, lightly toast the grains until you get a nutty aroma, approximately 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and cover. Allow to cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Quinoa cooks very much like rice other than the toasting step and substitutes great for a starch at dinner.
There are a few potato flans floating out there and many options for yams. However, I wanted to create something that not only could serve as a side dish but also as an interesting main. We had a couple of pounds of beets and some organic yams and used them to make a beautifully layered flan. I love the richness of both of these vegetables and as the fall starts to roll in, this really feels like the perfect comfort food for a cozy night at home. This meal can easily be converted into a healthy vegetarian main by omitting the pancetta. This turned out great and we had a few days of lunches out it as well.