Friday, 8 June 2012

Quinoa Salad with Cucumber and Herbs

I have a big jar of quinoa in my pantry. It makes me feel good and healthy just seeing it there, smiling at me from the shelf. It occupies some prime real estate between the chocolate and the sugar. My hand often brushes past it when I'm reaching for the chocolate chips. I can almost hear it sigh with disappointment as I overlook it (pick me, pick me.)  But today quinoa gets its turn. It gets to join a collection of garden vegetables and herbs and a bright dressing to make this zesty salad.

The vegetable and herb part of the salad is one of my favourite combos - very tabbouleh-esque. I make this salad when I have a garden full of fresh herbs and smiling jar of quinoa in my pantry.

Quinoa Salad with Cucumber and Herbs
Serves 6

For the Salad:
1 cup white quinoa
3 Lebanese cucumbers, cut into fat matchsticks
a handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
a handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
a handful of parsley leaves, picked
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
2 handfuls of green olives, halved
zest of 1/2 lemon

For the Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of sugar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon ground coriander
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Make the Salad:
Toast the quinoa in a dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes until it starts to pop. Put it in a sieve and rinse it well under cold water. Put it in a saucepan with 3 cups of cold water, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Cool.

Place the cooled quinoa into a serving dish. Top with the cucumber, basil, mint, parsley, spring onions, olives and finally the tomatoes. Pour the dressing over the salad and top with the lemon zest.

Make the Dressing:
Put all the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk well.

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