Spring Quinoa Salad for Katie

Spring Quinoa Salad for Katie

Whether you're a fan of quinoa or not, after trying this salad I promise there will be a place in your heart for this almighty little seed.  This week's recipe is for my dear friend Kate. I made it for her a couple of years ago and she requested the recipe from me, which I sent her via text-I'm pretty certain the recipe has been lost along the way, so here you go Katie- you have the recipe, pictures and instructions too!  Happy cooking over in Singapore, I hope it reminds you of Spring time in Sydney!

I just love quinoa, it makes a fantastic base for any salad.  I also like to use it when I'm entertaining because it can be prepared in advance and served cold, and can be dressed really quickly to serve.  This recipe is fabulous for a weekend BBQ, teamed with fish or chicken, and is also lovely with fresh prawns tossed through.

So, quinoa is often classed as a whole grain, but it is in fact a seed that comes from a plant that is in the same family as beetroot, spinach and swiss chard.  This miracle seed is packed full of protein and is considered to be a 'complete' protein as it contains all nine essential emino acids. Quinoa is gluten free, so is fantastic for coeliacs and those who are sensitive to gluten.  It is packed full of fibre, magnesium and phosphorous.  Quite the super seed is quinoa!

Over the last couple of years quinoa has become readily available, you can buy many varieties in the health food aisle of your local supermarket.  There are three different types of quinoa available- red, black and white.  I've tried them all and really love the black variety.  Not only does it look particularly beautiful against anything green or salad-y, I feel it retains a little more bite and nuttiness when cooked, which is how I like it.  Feel free to use white or red quinoa if you can't get your hands on the the black variety.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup black quinoa
1 medium sized ripe avocado
1 500g frozen bag broad beans, defrosted and shelled
1 cup frozen edamame beans
80g sheep's milk fetta, crumbled
Handful chopped parsley
Handful mint leaves
50g slivered almonds, toasted
Juice 1 lemon
1 tbs white wine vinegar
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

HOW IT'S DONE
Begin by rinsing the quinoa, this is an important step as the quinoa can be bitter once cooked if you don't.  I place the seeds in a large mixing bowl and give them a really good swirl around, then drain.  Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a rapid boil.  Place the quinoa in with a pinch of salt, and let it bubble away just like you would do if cooking pasta.  It will take 20-25 minutes to cook, the little germ will pop out when it gets going, and the quinoa should retain a little bite when done.  Make sure to taste the quinoa after 20 minutes to gauge whether it needs the extra 5 minutes or not.

Once cooked through, drain the quinoa and set aside to cool.  While the quinoa is bubbling away begin shelling your broad beans and defrost the edamame.

To plate up, on a platter place the quinoa, followed by the broad beans, edamame, almonds, avocado and fetta.  Combine the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil and drizzle over the salad. Finish by scattering the mint and parsley on top.  Season with salt and pepper and an extra drizzle of olive oil.  I like to leave everything looking pretty then give the salad a toss just before serving.  Serves 4.

Photography by Andy Stavert

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