Recipe: quinoa and summer herb salad
Our cook Janet shares one of her recipes
This is a lovely fresh and easy meal to make, one that I often make for myself when I want something that is quick to make as well as healthy and light to eat.
In summer I want to eat all those fresh herbs that are so abundant and bring such scents into the kitchen that I can be transported to another place and feel like I am on holiday in a Mediterranean country.
Herbs bring a lot of goodness for us so are essential for our well-being. I like to keep all the stalks of the herbs and make a flavoursome stock. If you don’t have a garden try to grow a few pots of herbs as there is nothing nicer than to be able to pick some instantly and have that lovely scent in your kitchen.
Quinoa (1 cup for 4 people)
An avocado - nice and ripe!
A good handful of summer herbs (parsley, marjoram, oregano, mint, basil, coriander, chives etc)
Begin by rinsing the quinoa in a sieve then cook with double the water. If you have your own stock, use that or you can add a little of powdered stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer till the water is gone, take off the heat keeping the lid on and leave to steam so that it becomes fluffy. It will take 15 mins and in that time you can do the rest so it is a very easy and quick meal to make.
Toast the pinenuts in a dry pan on a medium heat and keep an eye on them as they always start to colour just when you leave them! Stir them once they start to brown and when they're ready put them into the bowl in which you'll mix the salad.
Chop some capers, and then wash and strip the leaves off the stems of the herbs you are using. Chop them all together and add to the bowl with the capers. Squeeze a little lemon into the bowl with some seasoning and cut up some ripe avocado. Stir it all gently before adding the quinoa, then mix it all together and taste for seasoning. It will have a lovely fresh, clean, herby flavour and is very light and nutritious to eat.
I love to have a big dollop of pea and mint puree with it, as the mint is such a zingy summer herb that is cooling and refreshing on a hot day. This is so easy and everyone always loves it.
If you have fresh peas that is great, but frozen do a perfect job so simply steam the peas till cooked and sweet, drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water otherwise they will lose their lovely bright colour. Then drain again and blend with a little garlic, lots of mint, a little lemon, olive oil and a little spice seasoning. I often add a little garam masala, or paprika.
Season and serve with a fresh grated carrot salad, or a juicy tomato salad and you have a perfect summer supper...lunch…picnic!