healthy holidays: caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad

caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!healthy holidays // @thefirstmesspin it!healthy holidays // via @thefirstmesspin it!
I am dead-set on a holiday decor extravaganza at my house this year. I’ve got some sweet garlands, birch trunks, old hydrangea blooms sprayed with GOLD, the lights, lanterns, a boxwood wreath, lime green osage oranges, grapevines, spruce cuttings, pine cones, and some jute rope and pretty ribbon to finish it off all nice. That’s just the outside stuff. It’s kind of soothing clipping branches and jamming them into frozen boxes of dirt in the name of merry-making. It’s definitely frivolous, but in the moment it feels way too important. Also, having a hot drink in your snuggy gear after–that feels way important too.

I need the light-hearted distractions of twinkle lights, gold spray paint and bow-tying this time of year. It’s easy to make yourself feel trapped by all the things you absolutely have to accomplish within the span of one hectic month. Everyone is busy and everyone will tell you how busy they are at least 5 times in any given conversation. I am guilty of this. Yesterday I had to cook and photograph something and re-make another thing because the first thing was unusable in a previously outlined context (so specific, right?!). But I hung out with my mom, sipped some piping hot decaf (wuss-level), and strung up garlands on my porch in the morning instead. I still got all of my work done, but I went into it with a bit more warmth and energy once I got started.

I mean, I think work should be taken seriously. But busy-work is pretty much the worst and really? It’s the essence of holiday crazy-making. I never post a gift guide on here and generally advise people on just loving each other instead if they ask me about one. I feel anxious when I see things like that. I worry about the world sometimes, the direction of society, gorilla populations, and I tend to take things a bit seriously on a good day, but that pressure is real. It takes form in sometimes nonchalant ways, and I think we all feel it a little.

I said this last week, but it bears repeating: I’m really going for calm and overall wellness in this mad season of life. I’m fixing up really nourishing eats, making the house smell good, trying with might to focus my eyes away from screens, and making small improvements to my daily motions–all in good time. If I go into 2015 with a focused, intentional whisper instead of a bang, I’ll be happy.

On that nourishing eats tip, there’s this bowl of vegetables with caraway and fresh horseradish dressing. I do love a good and crunchy broccoli salad stashed away to mix with greens and a bit of avocado or something. The best ones always seem to have sweet and sour components. This one is filled out with just a bit of cooked quinoa–enough to cling to the lightly cooked florets. I quick-pickle some shallots and add some crisp sweet apples to the mix as well. The dressing is a bit spicy and sharp with the horseradish and lemon, but grounded with the earthy anise-flavour of caraway. I’ve been adding just a bit of flaxseed oil to all of my dressings lately. I like the nutty taste, but also those anti-inflammatory, polyunsaturated fatty acid vibes too.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American pals this week. Salad and hugs to you all :) xo

caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad // via @thefirstmesspin it!
caraway + horseradish broccoli quinoa salad recipe
print the recipe here!
serves: 6
notes: I steam the broccoli and cauliflower florets, but you could totally do this as a raw salad and bypass that extra step if you want. I use a bit of flax oil in the dressing (#foryourhealth), but straight olive oil all the way is just as well.

caraway + horseradish dressing ingredients:
2 tbsp grated fresh horseradish
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2-3 tbsp)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (+ extra for the salad)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flaxseed oil (or more olive oil)

salad ingredients:
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1-2 stalks of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 apple, small dice
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup marcona almonds, chopped

In a blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Check it for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.

Place the sliced shallots in a small bowl. Cover them with the 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the maple syrup. Let the mixture sit while you make the rest of the salad. You want the slices of shallot to be lightly softened.

In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1/2 cup of filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil over medium heat. Then lower to a simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Steam or boil the broccoli and cauliflower florets for 3-4 minutes or until slightly soft. Drain the florets and run cold water over them. Dry lightly with a paper towel and transfer to a larger serving bowl. To the bowl, add the cooked quinoa, diced apple, chopped dill, marcona almonds, and extra caraway seeds.

Drain the shallots and add them to the bowl as well. Add as much dressing as you like and a good amount of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

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  • valentina - sweet kabocha27/11/2014 - 4:29 am

    Flaxseed oil for President!! :DReplyCancel

  • Karuna27/11/2014 - 6:35 am

    Wooooh do you have a book coming out soon that you not allowed to announce just yet??? Can’t wait for it already!!

    Will have to wait till you get more specific about that:)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/11/2014 - 7:54 am

      Hi Karuna, Those vague comments were actually about a recipe I had to make for a certain popular food site ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites27/11/2014 - 9:50 am

    A beautiful sentiment for the holiday rush. I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves to play with pine boughs and branches with berries for outdoor holiday decor. Natural is best!ReplyCancel

  • Tieghan27/11/2014 - 10:13 am

    I am so with you on holiday decor and cheer. This is probably the busiest I have ever been, but I too have pines, lights and all the good stuff up this season! It’s my favorite!!

    Loving this nourishing plate, it’s the perfect thing to keep me going! :)ReplyCancel

  • Christina T27/11/2014 - 12:02 pm

    This looks great! Do you think it would pack up well? I’m thinking about making it for a potluck.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/11/2014 - 12:38 pm

      Hi Christina, I think it would pack up just fine–you could even dress it ahead of time. I would just add the chopped dill and marcona almonds to the salad when you arrive at your destination.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Christine27/11/2014 - 1:08 pm

    Laura, I am so with you on the intentional slowing down during this season and keeping an eye towards wellness and wellbeing instead of allowing oneself to be swept up in the crazyness. I love your holiday decor photos – I cannot wait to do my house (inside and out!). Horseradish always feels like a holiday condiment (to me, I guess? haha) so it feels particularly fitting in this salad as we approach December! this may be a funny question, but I really like your linens here – where are they from?ReplyCancel

  • Lane | Green Spirit Adventures27/11/2014 - 1:27 pm

    I love everything about this post. :) I totally agree with the whole slowing down for the holidays bit – and the decorating!!
    I’ve been craving broccoli for a couple of days now, so I think this recipe will absolutely hit the spot!ReplyCancel

  • hannah27/11/2014 - 2:07 pm

    This looks lovely and I’m totally feeling the same about trying to ease into 2015 in a really calm and positive place emotionally.. start as you mean to go on.
    Serves 6? Did you have it as a side dish?
    xxxReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright27/11/2014 - 5:09 pm

      Hey Hannah, I suppose it could be more of a serves 4-6 kind of thing, depending on what else is on the table etc.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Nicola27/11/2014 - 4:50 pm

    Love the thoughts! Horseradish & Caraway, two things I’ve been wanting to try lately, there not so common in Aus. Am definitely going to have to go hunting now. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn28/11/2014 - 6:40 am

    In my book, there is nothing so good at relieving stress than twinkly Christmas lights, preferably with a glass/mug of something hot and/or boozy. Love the punch of flavours in this salad too. I feel better just looking at your vibrant pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie @ Veg Fiend28/11/2014 - 8:58 am

    I am totally with you on being uneasy about the over-consumerism of this time. I do not have a TV at my house, and now that I am with my family for the holiday, and surrounded by the non-stop holiday commercials, I truly notice the pressure that large retail corporations put on consumers to buy, buy, buy at this time over year over spending time with their loved ones. When I am at my own house, I do come across the occasional holiday ad online or in the newspapers, but it is nothing like the ubiquity of tv ads. Glad to see you are feeling calm and well during this season :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah28/11/2014 - 6:13 pm

    Thank you for this lovely post. This time of year it’s all too easy to get bogged down– both on a personal and big picture level– and lightness is definitely needed. This salad looks delicious. My stuffy head and weary body has been craving fresh, tangy, spicy grub like this… can’t wait to try!ReplyCancel

  • Millie l Add A Little29/11/2014 - 4:42 am

    This looks amazing Laura and love what you’ve written!!ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}29/11/2014 - 12:23 pm

    I have a hard time slowing down during the holidays. I am always trying to make all of the food and make all of the gifts, furiously knitting away and baking for at least month. This year I decided to just do some basic homemade gifts, and then buy the rest from local artisans. That way, I can take a break and breathe, and I am also supporting the local economy.
    This salad looks lovely. I looks like the kind of clean eating I crave before the excess of the Christmas holidays.ReplyCancel

  • Bec30/11/2014 - 7:21 am

    such stunning photos.. I am not drooling and salad dreaming! I hope you had a great TG xReplyCancel

  • jaime30/11/2014 - 5:26 pm

    for real, your flavor combinations are incredible. i love caraway and always welcome a fresh way to incorporate it.

    re: busy-ness, have you read this?: https://medium.com/thelist/the-cult-of-busy-bbb124caed51ReplyCancel

  • Grace @ The Big Reveal01/12/2014 - 12:26 pm

    This looks so delicious! And, as usual, your photography blows me away! Love, love, love. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food01/12/2014 - 10:14 pm

    I’ve tried to balance out all the heavy, unhealthy dishes with flavorful and satisfying salads. This one is blowing my mind. Love all the textures and the use of horseradish (why don’t more people include it in recipes?)ReplyCancel

  • […] Il n’y a pas que les soupes dans la vie en hiver, et cette salade de saison a l’air dél… […]ReplyCancel

  • la domestique02/12/2014 - 6:12 am

    Oh boy I feel you. Been struggling with the same stuff and it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one. Love the sound of a healthy holiday and YES to horseradish dressing!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne02/12/2014 - 12:39 pm

    Just made this. Ate the entire blow. This is probably one of the best things I have ever eaten! fresh horseradish on this is genius!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany Schimmel03/12/2014 - 6:38 pm

    Wow. Your photography is amazing. I love reading food blogs and this has got to be the best photography I’ve seen in one.ReplyCancel

  • Sherrie04/12/2014 - 1:46 pm

    Beautiful words, from one world concerner to another, I couldn’t agree more. So moving is happening!! And we’ll be packing straight through the holidays and I said I wouldn’t bring out the decorations this year, that might make things a little crazy. BUT you’ve inspired me to get my twinkling lights on, they always have a warm and comforting way to soothe my soul.

    so much love girl,
    xo sherrieReplyCancel

  • […] Laura has some beautiful words {+ a healthy bowl of goodness} on embracing the holiday season, you should read it. […]ReplyCancel

  • DebbieG04/12/2014 - 9:31 pm

    I made this salad tonight. My only change was to lightly roast the cauliflower and broccoli. It was gorgeous. Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] 4. Full disclosure: I’m afraid of horseradish.  The story involves being fed a spoonful of horseradish as a child and me subsequently DYING.  Okay, feeling like I was dying.  But this recipe looks like a safe new beginning for horseradish broccoli quinoa salad. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah03/01/2015 - 8:16 pm

    2 stalks = 2 crowns?ReplyCancel

  • […] Horseradish Broccoli Quinoa Salad – The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

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