A salad obsession.

Salad Obsession Full Size

Apologies for the slightly wanky shot above…I was making a joke to some friends about how this was my ‘work Christmas party’ this year…sitting on my back porch with a lovely frosty glass of rose and a bowl of this salad I am ABSOLUTELY OBSESSED with, with my feet up and surveying the garden in the midday sunshine.  Doesn’t get more festive than that!

This salad had its genesis in a visit to a cafe in Northcote, the name of which escapes me i’m afraid.  I think because I was too preoccupied with literally forensically pulling apart my lunch mate’s meal, filing away all the different components so I could reproduce my version at home.  I was having serious food envy, so I wasn’t going to let this salad pass me by – I was determined to recreate it for myself.  Here is my version of that meal, which is guaranteed to please your tastebuds, as well as being chock full of healthful goodness and hipster credibility.

Salad Obsession 2
The almost demolished version.

There is a bit of prep going on with this salad, but once everything is done it just goes into a bowl for a mix and that’s it – it’s ready to eat.  Lately i’ve been pairing it with a super-tasty baked tofu, which you can see in the pictures above…all the leafy, crunchy, slightly tart goodness of the salad pairs perfectly with the creamy texture and smoky flavour of the tofu…i’ll link to this recipe in another post so you can give it a go for yourself – it’s super easy.

My only caveat with this salad is that it’s so addictive, you may have to stop yourself from wanting to eat it every day!  But rest assured, you can do so completely guilt-free 🙂

Southpaw’s Superfood Salad


  • Half a bunch of curly kale or cavolo nero
  • 2 cobs of corn
  • 1/2 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, chopped
  • 1 tin (440g) cooked black turtle beans, drained
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes & gently tossed in 1 tbs lemon juice
  • Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbs pickled jalepenos, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of wild rice
  • 3/4 cup of quinoa
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • Ricotta Salata (see notes)
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Strip the kale or cavolo nero leaves off the stems, wash & chop finely.  Discard stems.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small, heavy-based frypan or pot over a medium-high heat.  Throw in the wild rice and stir quickly to coat.
  3. The rice will start to ‘pop’ pretty quickly, so keep it moving in the pan while it does this.  Once it’s all done (about 3 minutes), take it off the heat and pop it into a bowl to cool.
  4. Bring a pot of water to the boil and pop the cleaned corn cobs in for about 3-5 minutes – you want them barely cooked, so keep an eye on them and pull them out when the colour starts to change from that raw, waxy yellow to bright yellow.
  5. At the same time you start your corn, put the quinoa in another pot with about a litre of water, and put this onto boil.  Once it boils, this will take about 7-10 mins to cook, but you’ll know that it’s done when the little ‘tails’ appear out of the quinoa grains – so keep an eye on it.  Once these tails appear, drain the quinoa into a fine mesh colander, and then rinse in cold water.  Leave to drain while you get on with the other components.
  6. Slice the corn kernels from the cobs into a large bowl, and add in the capsicums, tomato, avocado, coriander, jalepenos, quinoa, black beans, and kale or cavolo nero.
  7. In a small jug or jar, add the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and whisk or shake to combine.
  8. Add the dressing to the ingredients in your bowl and gently stir to combine everything.
  9. Serve with lashings of ricotta salata grated over the top, and sprinkled with the popped wild rice – enjoy!


  • Ricotta Salata is a delicous, semi-hard, salted ricotta, which is perfect for grating.  I got mine from Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick, but any good deli should be able to help you out with this.  Because this salad doesn’t have a huge amount of dressing, the ricotta salata is pretty essential in the taste and texture profile – it’s just not the same without it.  If you can’t find it, substitute peccorino.
  • The black beans you want for this dish are the Latin American variety – sometimes known as turtle beans.  You want to find them cooked, but not seasoned, and definitely not refried!  Cooked Asian-style black beans aren’t right for this dish either – if you can’t find the right ones canned, most Asian or Latin American grocers will have the plain, dried version, which you can soak and cook yourself.
  • I have tried using black rice for the popped rice (because I couldn’t find the wild rice I was sure i’d bought!) and it was a bloody disaster – i’m not sure what it is about the wild rice that makes it perfect for popping, but it seems to work really well so i’d stick with it if you can.  If you can’t find it, try a small handful of crushed tortilla chips instead, to give a similar crunch.
  • This recipe makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how greedy you are, and because of the minimal dressing, it keeps brilliantly in the fridge for 4-5 days.

2 thoughts on “A salad obsession.

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