Beetroot, broccoli and quinoa salad
Quinoa is one of those wonder foods. Not only it is very high in protein (12 -18%), it is also lauded for containing a balanced set of amino acids, making it a uniquely complete protein source. Originating in the Andean region of South America, quinoa is a very versatile grain and can be found in most supermarkets and health food stores. It is a good substitute for rice or couscous and is available in white, red and black varieties, the latter two having a more earthy, nutty flavour. Quinoa can be used in sweet dishes as well as savoury. I often make it into porridge, adding berries, nuts and a drizzle of honey for a healthy, delicious breakfast. I have also experimented with replacing oats for cooked quinoa in biscuits and baking with good results.
Use this recipe as a guide. Where the vegetables below give the salad a light summery feel, try roasting eggplant, courgette or pumpkin along with some walnuts for a more hearty, winter salad.
1 1/2 cups quinoa
a good handful of beans, blanched
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched
1 small beetroot, grated
3 eggs, boiled, peeled and cut into eight
a handful of basil leaves, torn
2 eggs, hard-boiled
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
bunch of basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1. Rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear. Place in a saucepan with 3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed. This normally takes between 20-25 minutes. The quinoa will retain a slight crunch to it, similar to the ‘al dente’ bite of cooked pasta. Fluff up with a fork and place in a large salad bowl.
2.While the quinoa is cooking finely slice the bacon and fry until crispy. Place on a paper towel to drain.
Add the broccoli, beans, beetroot and bacon to the quinoa and mix through. Arrange the boiled eggs on top of the salad and garnish with the torn basil and the dressing.
1. Blend or process the eggs, capers, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.
2. With the motor operating, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. This will thicken the dressing. If you want a more liquid dressing, add boiling water drop-by-drop until you have the desired consistency.