Quinoa is often thought of as a bit posh but it is widely available, easy to cook with and I often use it as an alternative to rice.
You may have tried quinoa before but it tasted quite bitter and that’s because it hasn’t been prepared properly. Quinoa needs to be rinsed really, really well. I put the quinoa in a sieve and run it under cold water for at least 5 minutes, moving the quinoa around to ensure it is all getting washed. Why do this? Quinoa has a bitter tasting coating to protect itself from birds and bugs whilst it is growing. Although many commercial brands of quinoa have been pre-washed I always give my quinoa a thorough wash before cooking just to be sure.
This salad is a great option to include in meal prep if that’s your thing. I often meal prep on Sundays and as this salad stores well in the fridge it’s great for packed lunches or for evening meals throughout the week.
Fun fact, quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain like rice. Quinoa is an excellent source of plant-based protein as it contains all the essential amino acids we need (amino acids form protein). As quinoa is naturally gluten-free it is a great alternative for those living a gluten-free lifestyle.
-1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, washed thoroughly
-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
-1 red pepper, core & seeds removed, quartered
-2 courgettes (I used 1 green & 1 yellow), cleaned and cut into discs about 1cm thick
-1 bunch asparagus, cleaned & trimmed
-3 Tbsp. olive oil
-juice of half a lemon
-1 generous handful of cherry tomatoes, washed & halved or quartered
-salt & pepper to taste
-1/3 cup flaked almonds (optional)
-1/3 cup coconut yoghurt (or any dairy free unsweetened plain yoghurt)
-1 heaped tsp. harissa paste
How To Make
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. Place the quartered pepper and sliced courgettes on 2 baking sheets, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes.
Put the washed quinoa in a large pan over a medium heat. Toast the quinoa for about 4 minutes stirring often to prevent it sticking. Add the turmeric, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Stir well, cover the pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
Flip the vegetables once they have roasted for 30 minutes and add the trimmed asparagus to the baking sheet and roast for a further 15-20 minutes or until everything is starting to brown.
Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl and add the cherry tomatoes and the roast vegetables once cooked. Pour over the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully mix everything together.
Scatter over the flaked almonds just before serving.
To make the dressing, mix the yoghurt and harissa in a bowl and serve alongside the quinoa salad.
This quinoa salad can be served as a main or as a side dish.
Both the salad and the dressing can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.