Quinoa, prounced ‘keen-wah’ is a gluten-free alternative to cereal grains.  It is a relative of spinach and swiss chard. It has been called the ‘Caviar of grains’ ‘Mother grain’ and ‘Gold of the Incas’. Such empowering names! – if quinoa were sold on the stock exchange it would be up there with platium!

The shape and colour of the little white seeds make it look similar to sesame seeds. It has a fluffy texture and a subtle nutty flavour when cooked. Quinoa is available in your local health food store and in the health/organic section of most supermarkets.

Quinoa can rightfully be called a ‘superfood’. It contains high levels of protein of good quality, so it is very useful in a vegetarian/vegan diet. It has more calcium than milk (weight-for-weight); it is also rich in other minerals like magnesium, iron and copper, and has high levels of fibre.

I love this little grain as it is so versatile and fantastic in salads. Purple sprouting broccoli is still in season, but if you cannot source it use broccolini or your standard green broccoli. This salad will keep 2-3 days in your fridge. A great all round dish: use as a salad if entertaining, great in lunchboxes, side dish and even breakfast.

 

Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chargrilled Artichoke, Green Olives, Petit Pois & Quinoa Salad with Lemon Olive Oil and Sheep’s Feta Crumble

Serves 2-4

100 grams quinoa

200 ml vegetable stock

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

Seasoning of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

100 grams purple sprouting broccoli, trimmed

6 marinated artichoke hearts, ½

10 large green olives (use your favourite)

50 grams petit pois (frozen ok), cooked and refreshed in cold water then drained

20 grams spinach leaves, finely shredded

80 grams sheeps feta, lightlly crumbled

Extra olive oil for drizzling

 

  1. Heat stock in saucepan until boiling. Put quinoa in a large bowl of water. Swirl it around, then rinse & drain under tap. Add quinoa to boiling stock, give it a quick stir and then cover saucepan and return to boil. Cook on low simmer for 15-20 mins. Ideally there should still be a little crunch in the grains, and you’ll notice a small white disc surrounding them; this is a sign that the quinoa is cooked, or very Liquid should have evaporated, but if not, drain off any excess water. Let the quinoa sit for 5-10 minutes before adding oil, lemon juice and seasoning, allow to cool.
  2. Blanch (quickly boil) broccoli in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes, refresh under cold water and keep chilled until ready to use, dry off between layers of kitchen paper.
  3. Char-grill artichokes by masaaging artichokes with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Heat a flat pan and place artichoke hearts cut side down onto pan. Allow to slightly blacken 2-3 minutes and quickly turn over cook for another minute, transfer onto a plate.
  4. Cook petit pois as instruction on packet, refresh and chill until ready to assemble, shred spinch.
  5. Gently layer the quinoa, broccoli, artichokes, olives, peas, and shredded spinach on a nice platter. Top with crumbled feta and a splash of good quality olive oil.

This recipe is suitable for:

Gluten free / Dairy free / Diabetic friendly / Low GI / Vegetarian / Vegan option – leave out feta / Child friendly / Easy