Spring Quinoa Salad

Quinoa…have you tried it? Do you know what to do with it? High in protein and gluten free, this grain (that isn’t actually a grain at all) is the perfect way to add variety, as well as a powerhouse of nutrition to your diet.

Despite having a few so-so attempts at quinoa based meals in the past, i’ve recently been refining this wonderful salad and just can’t get enough of it!

The quinoa provides a nutty, chewy base and the veges, herbs and leaves give it a lovely freshness, balanced out with lots of zesty lemon juice, red wine vinegar and a flavourful drizzle of good olive oil. Add the chilli to really wake up your taste buds and finish with the comforting creamy tartness of crumbled feta. Tastes just like spring! Although not strictly a detox meal (with the feta) I ate this for lunch for a whole week after coming off our detox last month.

Keep in mind that most quinoa is imported from Bolivia, where it has been a staple for centuries. Sadly, since the recent high demand from wealthy health-conscious consumers (like us), its availability and price is becoming increasingly out of the reach of  local Bolivians who are now turning to cheap and highly processed western foods, ruining their health in the process. Learn more here.

If you can find the locally grown version (Mount Zero sources it from Tasmania) be sure to really thoroughly rinse the grains before using, to remove the bitter protective coating called saponin.

Zesty Quinoa Salad with Spring Peas, Broad Beans, Herbs & Feta

  • 1 cup quinoa (I used red for the beautiful colour contrast against the green)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup broad beans, shelled (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup baby peas (I used frozen, but fresh would be fantastic)
  • 2 to 3 cups rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup italian parsley, chopped (coriander would also be nice)
  • 1/3 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 small hot red chili, thinly sliced (if desired)
  • 100g of plain feta cheese, crumbled (I used my favourite from Over the Moon Organics)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (add a little extra if needed – be generous!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Bring quinoa and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 12 minutes. If there’s a little liquid remaining, strain quinoa and place in a mixing bowl.
Remove broad beans from pods and blanch for 1-2 minutes.  Plunge into ice bath, cool and remove skins.
Blanch peas until tender.  Plunge into ice bath.
Add broad beans, peas, and remaining ingredients from rocket to feta. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat. Enjoy on its own for lunch, a light dinner, or as an accompaniment.

Do you have a favourite spring salad?

One Response to “Spring Quinoa Salad”

  • I’ve been wanting to make this, as I’m a huge 101cookbooks fan. I make sonethimg from her cookbook at least once a week! Seriously! I can hardly wait for her new book to come out (April 5th)!I haven’t made this yet because I have a problem with quinoa I don’t have a strainer fine enough to rinse it without it all going down the drain. Do you? What kind of strainer did you use? I tried lining it with a paper towel unsuccessfully.