So I’ve been taking time out recipe planning, testing and playing with my new toy – my Canon 700D dslr. I have no words to share my excitement, I’m definitely loving it. As a recent vegetarian convert (it was a long time coming because I rarely ate meat and is one of the best decisions I’ve made), there’s definitely more of a need for me to prioritise my diet even more and get as much nutrients and goodness from non meat sources so for me, Quinoa was the obvious choice to start implementing. It’s a complete protein and lends itself to being gluten-free and easy to digest, so it’s a great alternative to standard brown rice or wholewheat pasta. Good carbs, hello!
Quinoa is one of those grains I’ve been meaning to cook with for a long time so coming up with this recipe was quite a fun task. I love vegetables (no, really) so I’ve thrown in a super delicious mix of superfoods to bulk this salad out so its nutrient rich and substantial for a main meal or light lunch. I even have this warm; just be sure to put the avocado and goats cheese on after you’ve heated it up! If you need a pick-me-up come mid week, definitely try this one! Your body will thank you later.
For the salad:
- 150g dry quinoa – black and red varieties also work well
- Half a butternut squash, de-seeded
- 1 small red onion
- 10-12 small broccoli florets
- 1 small Romano pepper
- Handful of mange tout
- 1 avocado
- 1 lemon
- Crumbled goats cheese
- 2 garlic cloves
- 50g of almonds
- 1 red birdseye chilli
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Olive oil and vegetable oil
- Salt and black pepper
Serves 3-4 | Prep: 5 mins, Cooking: 25 mins
Step one: Simmer 150g of quinoa on a medium heat for 15 mins. Two parts salted water to one part grain.
Step two: Heat up the vegetable oil in a wok or large deep pan then chop the butternut squash into small cubes, skin on. Fry them first for 5 mins til browned and softened.
Step three: Chop the remaining veg into even small pieces; red onion, red pepper, chilli and broccoli florets. Leave the mange tout whole. Crush the garlic cloves too. All veg prepped!
Step four: Add the garlic and chilli to the pan, along with the seasoning and soy sauce. Then add the vegetables and a splash of water and cook rapidly for 5 mins.
Step five: The quinoa will have soaked up all the water and be fluffy but still with defined texture. Pour into the pan and stir til well mixed. Add the whole almonds and drizzle everything with olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Turn off the heat.
Step six: Peel, de-stone and chop the avocado into small chunks and crumble the goats cheese over the salad to serve.