Friday, 23 May 2014

Marks and Spencer Beetroot, Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad

As the days (in theory) get warmer, I increasingly want fresh salads for lunch. However, as well as nutritious it needs to be delicious. Iceberg lettuce and cucumber just won't cut it. This beetroot, quinoa and wheatberry salad from M&S looked to provide something a bit more interesting. The vibrant, intense colour alone is enough to stop you in your tracks.

As well as a really cool colour, it's the variety of shapes, sizes and textures that make this appealing. The dark, sweet beetroot comes in both soft, juicy chunks and elegant little strips and the grains are soft and bubbly and don't stick together. This salad also packs in sweet, sharp apple and savoury pecan nuts and also comes with a little pot of cider vinegar dressing for even more oomph.

I also added some fresh tomato and pepper but frankly the salad pot has enough interest to carry itself. The beetroot is very mellow and sweet, complimenting the fruity bursts of refreshment from the crisp apple. However, it doesn't get overly sweet as the plain, calming presence of the quinoa and wheatberries offsets and tempers the fruit and veg.

The star of the show for me was the pecans. There were plenty of generous sized pieces proving crunch and nuttiness. The pecans must have been toasted as they have a lovely savoury flavour with a very subtle hint of honeyed sweetness. Every bite of these nuggets again counteracted the salad and fruit for a lovely mix of tastes and textures.

I only ended up using half the dressing as I found it very sweet and a bit too intense. However, a conservative splash added a little extra kick to the salad.

This box in itself made an adequate lunch with a bit of bread. But this would also be good for sharing at BBQs or spooning onto a plate as a little side element to a main meal.

Price: £2 or 2 for £3
Available: Marks and Spencers

Pros: Interesting grains, lovely mix of flavours and textures, generous with both quantity and quality of ingredients
Cons: Dressing was a little on the sweet side and a bit too strong

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