Simple quinoa salad side dish

Red Quinoa and Mange Tout salad with cardamom and lemon

Salads are an all time favourite of mine, be them green leaves or what I like to term as “MAN-SALADS'” (this is best said with a chest puffed out and a deep macho voice)

Salads needn’t be a sprinkle of tasteless leaves plonked on a plate, insultingly low in calories and unexciting to the taste buds, the punishment of some post festive gluttony. No, salads can be eaten by real men and yogi women alike.

I pride myself on my ability to feed men salads and for them to actually enjoy them, ask for seconds and NOT dash down to the nearest steak joint for the meat need. My Man Salads, as I call them, are protein rich, textured and can be served hot or cold.IMG_0295

Ingredients

  • 2 packets of crunchy organic mange tout, you can de-string them if you really want to
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil/argan oil or a rich heavy olive oil
  • ½ tsp cardamom seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
    How to make it
  1. In a small to medium sized cooking pot heat 500ml water and add the cardamom seeds, leave to simmer for 15 minutes to allow the water to infuse with the flavour and the kitchen to fill with the beautiful aroma.
  2. Wash the quinoa thoroughly and pop in the simmer water, allow to cook for 6 minutes or until you see the tails emerge.
  3. When the tails emerge toss in the mange tout and allow them to half change colour, not completely as they will continue cooking. This should only take about 30 seconds to a minute
  4. Once they are ready remove and drain and leave to cool and dry out – stir if you’d like to hurry it up.
  5. When the mixture has dried through add it to a mixing bowl with the oil and lemon and season to taste.

This super simple dish is wonderful as an accompaniment to a poached rainbow trout, grilled chicken breast with green chilli salsa, baked feta topped with za’tar or as part of a salad feast. Full of fibre and super clean, I love this dish.

You can make a bog batch and pop some with a couple of boiled eggs and a slice avocado and a little salad dressing in a lunch box the next day, the envy of the office you shall be!

 

A few interesting facts about Quinoa

  1. It’s pronounced KEEN-wah, not kwin-OH-ah. You might know this already but many don’t
  1. There are more than 100 types of quinoa. There are roughly 120 known varieties of quinoa, according to the Whole Grains Council. The most commercialized types are white, red, and black quinoa. White quinoa is the most widely available in stores. Red quinoa is more often used in meals like salads since it tends to hold its shape better after cooking. Black quinoa has an “earthier and sweeter” taste. You can also find quinoa flakes and flour that is great for making pancakes both savory and sweet.
  1. The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to it as chisaya mama or “mother of all grains”, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using “golden implements”. During the Spanish conquest of South America, the colonists scorned it as “food for Indians”, and suppressed its cultivation, due to its status within indigenous religious ceremonies. The conquistadors forbade quinoa cultivation for a time and the Incas were forced to grow wheat instead.
  1. Quinoa is excellent used in raw food preparation, one may soak it over night to allow the germ or tail to emerge. This is said to allow the amino acids within to be more bio-available perhaps as the enzymes are released during germination process. Its lovely sprinkled over dehydrated aubergine dressed with a peanut and lime chilli and peanut pesto (drools slightly)
  1. Quinoa is classed as a Pseudocereal in the same classification as Amaranth, it is related to tumble weed and beetroot.

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