Spring has sprung and its time to overhaul the diet and let go of the heavy comfort foods of winter. Its easy to spring clean the diet as the new season fruits and vegies start to hit the market, and you’ll be seeing lots of healthier options coming through my blogs in the next few weeks.
First up, inspired by the cover of Gourmet Traveller this month, I have adapted the Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans & Preserved Lemon, original recipe is here. Whichever version you cook, this is a nutritious healthy meal. You can feel the goodness in every bite!
But first some quick facts about Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). High in protein, Quinoa is a great option for vegetarians. It is gluten free and high in fibre and cooks like rice. It is also a good source of magnesium. Grown in South American, Quinoa is an excellent alternative to use instead of the wheat derived couscous and burghul.
When cooking the quinoa you can throw it in to the pan with some water as per the instructions on the pack, however I like to toast it a little first. Dry roast in the pan by turning on heat and stirring for a few minutes until you can smell the aroma of the quinoa roasting (watch carefully, you don’t want to brown them, just toast it slightly).
Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
250 g podded broad beans
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill (or 1/2 cup chopped mint)
2 green onions chopped
2 preserved lemon quarters
1 tsp sea salt
1 good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1. Place quinoa into a saucepan with water. Or dry roast as above, as soon as its toasted immediately add water into the saucepan.
2. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and cover with a saucepan lid. Allow to steam for another 5 minutes with lid on. The quinoa should be tender and fluffy. Place quinoa into a salad bowl, stir through with a fork and then allow to cool whilst you prepare the rest of the salad.
3. Bring another saucepan to the boil and cook broadbeans for 2-3 minutes (if fresh) and until beans rise to the top (if frozen). Remove the outer case of beans and discard so that you have the inner green bean only.
4. Prepare asapargus by removing the woody part of the spears (cut 2-3cm off the ends). Poach asparagus spears in boiling water until just tender (3-5mins). Remove from water, drain and chop into thirds.
5. Put all ingredients into the quinoa and stir through a good drizzle of olive oil.
6. Serve salad on its own as a light meal or with poached chicken breast or grilled salmon.