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  • Writer's pictureGabby Pavlovic

Fun & Festive Salad Recipe

These holidays I made this salad for numerous Christmas gatherings, and each time it was a hit!

Aside from being super easy to make, gluten free and dairy free, it's also quite versatile and you can easily make it grain-free by just having the roast veggies, leafy greens, and other fun bits.

Please bear in mind the quantities of ingredients often change slightly every time I make something, so feel free to do as I do and use a bit of cook's intuition when trying to get an idea of how much of something you might like to use.

Gluten free, dairy free christmas salad recipe
Leftover Festive Salad I had for brunch on Boxing Day, where I added in some cherry tomatoes and cos lettuce.


  • 1 cup of quinoa, soaked overnight (or for at least 2 hours)

  • A good chunk (maybe around 2 cups worth) of pumpkin (whatever type you have is fine) chopped into smallish chunks / cubes

  • 2 onions, quartered (red would be best for colour, but use whatever you have; I used brown ones)

  • 2/3 to 1 cup of zucchini, chopped into thick chunks, maybe a little larger than the pumpkin as it's softer and will cook faster

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced

  • A bunch of curly kale, washed and chopped finely

  • 1/8 tsp powdered clove

  • 1 tsp powdered cinnamon

  • Chopped leaves of a sprig of fresh rosemary (or can use about 1 tsp dried)

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/2 cup activated hazelnuts, chopped roughly

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • The juice of half a lemon

  • Optional: 1 tsp powdered cumin to add to the quinoa while cooking

  • Optional: fetta of your choice for garnish (I used Botanical Cuisine pomegranate mint macadamia fetta)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

  2. In a roasting tray or oven-proof dish, toss together pumpkin, zucchini, garlic, onion, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a good glug (maybe 1-2 Tbsp) of EVOO. Place the tray / dish into the oven and bake veggies for 30 minutes. You can give them a toss halfway, if you so wish.

  3. Meanwhile, rinse off the quinoa and set aside.

  4. Bring 1 + 1/3 cups of water to the boil in a saucepan, then once boiling, add in quinoa. Bring quinoa to the boil, then cover and turn down to low, simmering for around 15 minutes or until fluffy.

  5. Optional step: add in 1 tsp powdered cumin to the quinoa in the second half of cooking time.

  6. While the veggies are roasting and the quinoa is cooking, find a nice serving bowl for your salad, and place your washed and chopped kale in it.

  7. Massage the kale with a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of EVOO, really getting your fingers involved to tenderise the leaves.

  8. Once the veggies have some nice colour on them and the quinoa is fluffy and cooked, combine these with the kale in the serving bowl, giving everything a good toss to combine. Here you can also add your lemon juice, cranberries, and any additional salt and pepper you think it might need.

  9. To top it off, sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top, as well as some blobs of fetta if you are using.

  10. Refrigerate until ready to serve, or dish up right away!


  • You could try using other grains / pseudograins which may be more sustainable to source like buckwheat or a sturdy rice that holds its shape (like the pink matta variety) as substitutes for quinoa, or you could omit these all together to make this a grain-free salad.

  • If you'd prefer to not have the kale raw, you can blanch it quickly in hot water, drain, pat dry, and then add to the recipe as usual.

  • This salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days, but keep in mind the nuts might go a bit soft, so garnish with them fresh when you're ready to serve up.

Let me know how you go with this recipe, and if you ever want to make it again, be sure to bookmark this page!


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