Very Green Quinoa Salad
With Spring all around us right now, there’s a lot more green food in my diet. Last week, I was putting baby spinach into lots of different smoothie recipes… this week, I’m taking advantage of the abundance of fresh herbs currently available at the market and mixing them into salads, risottos and even in our Sunday roast chicken.
This salad was inspired by Ottolenghi’s “Green Couscous” recipe from the cookbook “Plenty”, but, instead of using couscous, I thought I’d try it with quinoa to add a bit of extra protein. It has almost two cups of fresh herbs in it and tastes so wonderfully healthy and delicious. It would be great as a side dish with some grilled fish or chicken, or you could add some feta to make it for a more substantial vegetarian meal.
1 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa but any variety will work)
1 3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
100g asparagus tips
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 fresh green chili, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup arugula leaves
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with one tablespoon of olive oil and toast it for about one minute to let the water evaporate. Add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a rolling boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes before uncovering and fluffing with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, fry the onion with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat until golden and completely soft. Add salt and cumin. Mix well and allow to cool.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes and then immediately rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking further.
To make the herb paste, place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Mix the herb paste with the quinoa and fluff with a fork. Add the cooked onions, pistachios, green onion, chili, asparagus and arugula and gently mix it all together. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook’s note: When assembling the salad, be sure to allow the quinoa to cool for a bit before adding all of the other ingredients to it or else it will all become very sad and wilted.