This salad has it all, a hint of sweetness from the figs, saltiness from the feta, tanginess from the hibiscus and floral notes from the fennel and basil. It has a nice combination of crunchy texture from the fennel and onions incorporated with soft textures from the quinoa, feta and figs. It is the perfect fall salad!
It was my birthday this weekend and I had a great time! My mom flew in from Washington for the week with her new boyfriend Clyde. We went to lunch at one of our favorite spots, the “Bittersweet Bistro“. Later that evening, four of my girlfriends, my mom, Clyde, Robby and I met for dinner at a really cool restaurant in Felton named “The Cremer House“. It should be no surprise that I ordered the mac n cheese, which was exceptionally good by the way! The server later surprised me with homemade apple fritters with fresh whipped cream and a candle on top. The fritters were the size of donut holes and there were more than enough to pass around the table.
I made this salad for our beach picnic yesterday. It was the perfect addition to our usual picnic suspects, cheese, crackers, apples, grapes, pesto and nuts. Oh, and wine of course!
This salad goes great with just about any white wine. If you’re in the mood for sweet then try a Riesling or if you’re leaning towards a dryer wine try a Sauvignon Blanc.
Recipe: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 Cup Dried Organic Hibiscus Flowers
- 1 Bottle Champagne Vinegar (I used 12.7 oz. Napa Valley Naturals)
- 1/2 Cup Sheep Feta Cheese
- 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Dried Quinoa
- 2 Cups Filtered Water
- 1 Vegetarian Bouillon Cube
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1/2 Cup Champagne Hibiscus Flowers – or to taste
- 1/2 Fennel Bulb – thinly sliced
- 1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced
- 1 Cup Basil – chiffonade
- 3/4 Cup Feta Cheese – crumbled
- 8 Fresh Black Mission Figs – quartered
- 1 Cup Toasted Almonds – or more – top on individual salads – optional
Put all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend well. Set aside.
Measure the quinoa and water then add to a small sauce pan. Add the bouillon cube, olive oil and salt. Bring to a boil uncovered, mash the bouillon cube then turn heat down to medium-low and cover for 15 minutes. (use a timer) Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the quinoa to a large bowl and fluff with a fork to break up any clumps and let cool. Mix the hibiscus flowers, fennel, onion and basil into the quinoa and then carefully stir in the feta crumbles and figs. Top individual salads with the vinaigrette, almonds and fennel fronds.
Quinoa is a super food that is extremely nutrient rich as well as it is a complete protein source and high in fiber, which helps digestion and heart heath. It contains more antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients than any other grain. Unlike most grains quinoa has a significant amount of gamma-tocopherol of the vitamin E family, which helps some inflammatory issues. It is a good source of magnesium that helps metabolism, cardiovascular, and blood vessel function, which is helpful for migraine headaches. Quinoa contains the antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol even more than in cranberries. It is helpful in regulation of blood sugar and also reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Figs are high in potassium, which helps control high blood pressure. They have a high concentration of fiber that is helpful in digestion, weight management, constipation; helps prevent colon cancer, post-menopausal breast cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. The soluble fiber pectin, helps pull out excess cholesterol. They are also high in calcium that strengthens bones and they are high in antioxidants that are excellent for the liver.