This (slightly pretentiously titled, I’ll admit) quinoa salad is the ultimate in Spring dinners. Firstly, it is a beautiful, Spring-green. And it is stuffed full of green, spring-like vegetables.
This is also my celebration of Meat-free Week! For me (as a lifelong vegetarian) every week is meat free. I’m not one of those vegetarians who is out to convert people, each to their own is very much my motto.
However, eating less meat is a good idea. I’m not saying eat none necessarily (although that is great too- trust me!) It’s good for you, good for the planet and good for the animals! Even if you cant bear to give up meat, it is always wise to eat more quinoa, avocado and broccoli. So I thoroughly recommend this salad, even if you have to have it with a steak!
Quinoa with broccoli and asparagus and avocado and mint pesto
Quinoa- enough for two people, about 1 cupful
Half a head of broccoli
1 bunch of asparagus
half a lemon
sprig of mint leaves
handful of pumpkin seeds
For the pesto:
Half a very ripe avocado
Good handful of mint
2 cloves of garlic
Big pinch of salt and pepper
Begin by making the pesto. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it forms a loose paste. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash the avocado by hand, finely chop the mint and garlic and mix together, then season.
Cook your quinoa as you normally would. I put it in a saucepan with double the quantity of boiling water, and half a veggie stockcube. Simmer until the water has all been absorbed and the quinoa softened. You don’t want it to become porridgey, so I always go easy on the water at first and then add more later, if it needs it.
While your quinoa is cooking, cut your broccoli into very small florets. You want them sort of bitesize. Boil the broccoli for about 5 minutes and the asparagus for about 2. Drain, and then cut the asparagus into small chunks.
Toast your pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan for about 5 minutes or until they start to darken in colour slightly. Don’t leave them there for too long because they burn really easily!
When the quinoa and vegetables are cool, mix together in a serving bowl. Add the pesto and mix well. Squeeze the lemon over the quinoa, then finely chop the mint and sprinkle on top with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
Delicious as a side dish or a main course!