Hello lovely readers, it's good to be back! There have been lots of exciting things going on recently - I have been very busy juggling the launch of a new business along with home and family life. All whilst enjoying the ups and downs of my first trimester! (Imagine my thrilled, albeit slightly green face here.)
Here in South Africa there has also been a general buzz over the last few weeks, in the run up to our National Elections which took place last week. How lucky we are to live in a democratic country where each of us has the right to make our mark, and I was very proud to take part, and to see the enthusiasm of voters around the country on social media. It was a complete co-incidence that I had planned to make a delicious quinoa salad for lunch on election day, and even more of a coincidence when I realised that I had tricolour quinoa in the pantry. So in the spirit of democracy and my beautiful country, here is the rainbow nation inspired recipe that I made!
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a super healthy alternative grain. Whilst this may not sound particularly enticing (hold the chocolate cake, I'd much prefer a bowl of quinoa! ..said no-one), you might be pleasantly surprised by this trendy wonder-food if you have not tried it already. If nothing else, you can give yourself a pat on the back for making a good food choice. I prepared a flavourful herb paste to stir through the cooked quinoa, with delicious sundried tomatoes and green beans to beef it up, and toasted pine nuts for a bit of crunch. Serve the quinoa salad on its own for lunch, or as a side to roasted chicken pieces.
As I mentioned above, I used tricolour quinoa in this recipe, but any kind will do. This dish is best served at room temperature.
RAINBOW NATION QUINOA SALAD
Serves 2 as a salad, or 4 as a side dish
250ml (1 cup) quinoa
3 tbsp pine nuts
4 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp lemon juice
handful of basil leaves, about 10g
4 tbsp mint leaves
100g fine green beans, topped and tailed
200g baby marrows, sliced diagonally
60g drained sundried tomatoes in oil
Step 1.) Place the vegetable stock and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa then reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Set aside to cool.
Step 2.) Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Toast the pine nuts for a few minutes until golden, then set aside to cool.
Step 3.) Use the same frying pan to heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the chopped shallots and sauté for 3 minutes. Pop the shallots in a food processor with the remaining olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, basil and mint, and blitz to a paste.
Step 4.) Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil. Cut the green beans into thirds and boil for 6 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
Step 5.) Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat. Arrange the baby marrow slices in the pan and griddle for a few minutes on each side until tender.
Step 6.) Cut the sundried tomatoes into thin strips. Stir the herb paste through the cooled quinoa until well mixed. Stir the green beans, baby marrow and sundried tomatoes into the quinoa. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve.