Winter never strikes me as a time for salad. Food-wise, it’s all about stodge and warmth. As soon as the season hits, I want shortcrust pies drizzled with gravy, a roast with vegetables up to my eyeballs, and lots and lots of treacle pudding. (Of course, everything comes with the exception of meat, and where I can, dairy).
So you may be wondering why I’m featuring a salad today. Surprisingly, it’s because I’ve reintroduced the leafy-green meal back into my diet, but with a difference: my winter salads bring stodge and warmth in equal measure.
After playing around with roast vegetables for the last few months, I’ve decided my favourite has to be beetroot, and it’s the core of this whole dish. Sweet, tart and crispy when roasted, they add a heavy element to the dish, and bring out the flavour of the Violife vegan feta too.
About vegan cheese
I have to say, vegan cheese is different from regular cheese. It’s bound to – it’s made without dairy, and in this case, without soy, gluten, lactose, or nuts either.
I’ve always treated cheese as a bit of a treat, so being principally dairy-free, it’s nice to add a vegan version of it into my meals every now and again. I’ve found Violife make the nicest tasting vegan cheeses – their halloumi alternative is a favourite of mine – and it’s why I’ve opted to use their cheese here too. In order to give it the acidic taste of real feta, I’ve also added a bit of lemon juice to the recipe.
Vegan cheese at Pizza Hut
I’m also delighted to share the news that Pizza Hut has introduced Violife cheese across its stores, meaning you can have a wholly vegan pizza on the following bases: Pan, All American Thin, Flatbread and Gluten Free.
It’s a big step, as I know my decision to change my diet came in my late teens, and as a family-friendly restaurant it means you can still enjoy a meal without having to purely skulk around the salad bar (which is actually my favourite part, but I digress).
Vegan Feta Winter Salad Recipe
120g white quinoa
1 beetroot, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 inch cucumber, sliced
1/6th Violife vegan feta
Handful of parsley, torn
Handful of pine nuts
- Heat your oven to 180 °C, and boil a full kettle
- In an oven dish (I use a glass pyrex lasagne dish) put your sliced beetroot with a little oil under each slice and put into the oven for 10 minutes
- In a sauce pan, add your quinoa and cover with water. Simmer on a low heat and top up with water until cooked
- In the meantime, slice your cucumber, feta, and parsley
- After 10 minutes, flip your beetroot slices and cook for another 10 minutes
- In a small frying pan, dry fry your pine nuts on a medium heat until they’re toasted. Remember to remove them from the pan as soon as they are brown, or they will burn
- In a bowl, add your drained quinoa, cooked beetroot, cucumber, feta, parsley and pine nuts
- Cover with the juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon
- Mix and enjoy!