I love a good salad. One that is packed full of whole grains, like farro, barley and especially quinoa. I never understand when people say they don't like salad or think they are boring. Because there is nothing boring with this salad here. I basically took everything I loved, dumped it into a bowl and there we had it, salad!
Tossing grapes with olive oil and big pinches of sea salt and roasting them until they burst. Using my absolute favorite olive castelvetrano, the meatiest of all olives. Throwing in some handfuls of arugula, and large scoop of quinoa, and ricotta cheese on the side. The dressing is simple, balsamic vinegar reduction.
You can leave out the ricotta. Or switch it up with feta or a good heap of goat cheese. All would be amazing. And while you are at it, a good sprinkling of pistachios or pumpkin seeds would be great too. Basically salads are a good excuse to clean out your fridge. Similar to smoothies in my opinion. As always, use this as a guide, and then have fun. Because eating should be fun.
Roasted Grapes, Arugula, Green Olive Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Reduction
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 large bunch of grapes, about 2 cups
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 thyme sprigs
sea salt + fresh black pepper
2 cups arugula (or other greens of choice)
1/2 cup castelvetrano olives, pitted and cut in half (or other olives of choice)
1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes until the vinegar has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Run cold water over quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
In the mean time, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place grapes on the sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a large pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and 2 thyme sprigs laying on top. Roast for 10-13 minutes until grapes are dark in spots and just starting to burst.
In a large bowl, toss together cooked quinoa and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
On 4 salad plates, place 1/4 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup arugula, 1/2 cup roasted grapes, a few tablespoons of halved olives. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and place 1/4 cup ricotta cheese onto the side of each plate. Add a pinch of flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper on top.