Quinoa Vegetable Bowl

quinoa vegetable bowl reduced.jpeg

Ingredients

(makes 1 serving)

  • 50g quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
  • 4 florets broccoli, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and very finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, scrubbed and roughly grated
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, very finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peanuts, chopped or roughly crushed

For the Dressing

  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ½ tablespoon tamari or light soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced/grated
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced/grated

Method

  • In a large bowl toss the cooked quinoa, broccoli, red onion, carrot, coriander, spring onions and peanuts together. Mix until combined.
  • In a small bowl combine dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the whole lot and mix until all the ingredients are well coated.
  • This is such a quick, tasty and protein-rich salad which you can happily mess around with dependent on your tastes and what’s in stock. I have tried calves liver, shiitake mushrooms and blue cheese plus duck breast, dried cherries and mozzarella with good results - experiment!

Greek Salad with a Difference!


(makes 4 generous or 6 small servings)

The ‘spicing’ of the feta and the addition of the sweet potatoes and aubergine make this a really fresh but filling salad.


Ingredients
 

Spicy Feta Cheese
200g feta, cut into bite sized chunks
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

Salad
½ aubergine, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
100g black olives, stone and halved
1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
5 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
½ cucumber, cut into bite sized chunks
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ lemon, juice only
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Toast the fennel and cumin seeds for a minute or so in a dry pan until the aromas are released. 
  • Combine the seeds with the feta and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a bowl, making sure the feta is coated in the spiced oil. Place in the fridge for as long as possible to marinate (overnight is great).
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
  • Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes then add the aubergine and roast for a further 10 to 15 minutes then allow them to cool a little whilst you prepare the salad.
  • Combine the olives, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, oregano, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl, then mix in the marinated feta. Add the sweet potato and aubergine and toss it all together before serving.

Fennel and Orange Grain Bowl

Fiona Kirk Fennel and Orange Quinoa Salad web.jpeg


(makes 2 generous or 3 small servings)

I love this salad on its own as it is so fresh, colourful and satisfying but it also makes a good ‘side’ to a thick fillet of baked ‘meaty’ fish like cod, halibut or turbot. You can use any grains you fancy (barley, millet, rice, teff, spelt, amaranth etc) - just follow the cooking instructions on the packet before assembling the salad!

Ingredients

100g quinoa
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and divided into quarters or eighths (keep the root in place as this holds each segment together)
50mls fresh orange juice
1 pinch saffron powder
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Light olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 tablespoon flaked almonds
1 orange, skin and pith removed with a sharp knife and segmented
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Soak the quinoa in cool water for 15 minutes then drain and rinse and place in a pot. Cover with boiling water (use a cup to measure the soaked quinoa and use one and a half times that amount of boiling water).
  • Bring to the boil, stir well, turn the heat to very low, put a lid on the pot and lightly ‘steam’ for 30 minutes then turn off the heat and set the pot aside (don’t remove the lid).
  • Put the fennel in a bowl with the orange juice, saffron, a dash of salt and plenty of black pepper, cover and leave to ‘infuse’ for 20 minutes then drain (keeping the liquid), dry the fennel off with paper towel, lightly paint each quarter with the light olive oil, place on a baking sheet under a hot grill and grill them (turning often) until they are cooked through but still have a bit of ‘bite’ and are nicely caramelised.
  • Combine the tahini paste with the strained orange/saffron/fennel marinade until really smooth and creamy.
  • Toast the flaked almonds in a small dry frying pan - watch them like a hawk as they burn in the blink of an eye!
  • Fork through the quinoa until all the grains are separate then mix the tahini dressing through before placing on a serving plate.
  • Arrange the grilled fennel and orange segments around, scatter the pomegranate seeds, chopped chives and almonds over the whole lot, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the salad and serve.

Crab, Salmon and Avocado Salad


(makes 4 servings)

This is a particularly delightful mix and the addition of the pickled fennel and avocado ‘cream’ are (I have to say, modestly) inspired!

Ingredients

Cider vinegar
Water
Sugar
Sea salt
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, root removed and very finely sliced
150g fresh white crab meat, flaked
5 drops Tabasco
Fresh lemon juice
2 avocados, skinned, stoned and roughly chopped
100g good quality (or homemade) mayonnaise
100g crème fraîche
30ml fresh lime juice
1 green apple, cored and diced
100g smoked salmon in thin slices
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Combine a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a small pot, bring just to the boil, turn off the heat, add the fennel, cover and set aside until cool.
  • Mix the crab meat with the Tabasco and a dash of lemon juice, grind in some black pepper, cover and set aside.
  • Mash the avocado with a fork (or in a blender) with the mayonnaise, crème fraîche and lime juice until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Place the smoked salmon slices on a serving plate, scatter the diced apple around, drain the pickled fennel and add to the plate along with the crab mix, drizzle the avocado ‘cream’ over the whole lot, scatter more freshly ground black pepper around and serve.

Fabulous Warm Salad

Fabulous Warm Salad

(makes 1 serving)

There is something about adding freshly-cooked and warm elements to a salad and/or a dressing that you warm through just at the very last minute that can turn what might have been a good salad into a really great salad - here’s one that I never tire of creating... and eating!

Nutrition Bite: Pine nuts contain lutein, a plant chemical that may help us ward off eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Lutein is one of the predominant pigments in the retina and numerous studies have found that consuming foods rich in this nutrient can significantly reduce our risk of damage and degeneration.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
½ red pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 skinless chicken breast, carved into bite-sized slices
Crunchy lettuce leaves, torn into edible bites
½ cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and thinly sliced
½ courgette, wiped and grated
A handful of frozen peas, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes
A handful of beansprouts
Large tomato, sliced or quartered
½ avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse grain or Dijon mustard
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Method

  • Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat until golden and set aside.
  • Sauté the peppers and spring onions in the oil until soft and slightly caramelised around the edges then remove with a slotted spoon, cover and keep warm.
  • Add the chicken to the remaining oil and sauté gently until cooked through but still juicy.
  • Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients in a small pan or microwaveable dish and very gently heat through.
  • Load a good helping of the lettuce leaves into a wide serving bowl, add the cucumber, grated courgette, peas and beansprouts then top the salad with the hot onions and peppers followed by the hot chicken and finally the tomato, avocado and pine nuts.
  • Drizzle the warm dressing over the whole dish but don’t soak it, sit yourself down and enjoy!