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Tag: quinoa

Quinoa Tabbouli with Feta, Almonds and Dates

tabbouli

“Another salad with feta eh? That’s so imaginative of you”. Ja, that’s me! If you knew how rarely I actually sat down and ate a proper salad, you’d be throwing feta at me by the bucketful ok? If I’m going to have a salad that’s worth my while, it’s got to be substantial, and if it’s that, it’ll probably need a few yum-factors in there to make me actually want to finish it. Who eats a whole bowl of quinoa on its own anyway. Nobody that calls themselves my friend, that’s for sure.

All that aside, this salad is well and truly a pretty damn tasty one, even if you omit the feta (don’t). Tabbouli has always been in my life in some way or another, in the form of a packet mix, as a component of my salad bar lunch, or that one time we had an unforgettable meal at this incredibly authentic and charming restaurant in the heart of a million little windy streets in Cairo.

In my hope to make it  more of a main meal type thing, sturdy enough to be packed away as a work lunch, and happy enough to sit in the fridge for a few days without getting grumpy at me or losing its flavour, I created this little thing. I’ve gone out and jazzed up the grain component with our trusty quinoa, added some cinnamon to the mix and roasted the cherry tomatoes to increase its fridge life. Throw in some almonds for crunch, some dates for added sweetness, and some feta for that hit of salty tang, and you are in for one sexy date with your lunchbox.

Tabbouli with Feta, Almonds and Dates

Serves 4

 

1 cup / 170g quinoa

2 cups / 500ml vegetable stock

1 tsp cinnamon

400g cherry tomatoes, halved

2 big bunches parsley, finely chopped

1 bunch mint, finely chopped

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 lemons, juice

1/4 cup / 60ml olive oil

salt

100g Danish feta, crumbled

8 dates, finely chopped

1/2 cup / 60g slivered almonds, toasted

 

First, combine the quinoa, stock and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Cook it on a small flame, covered, until it’s done. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lay out the halved cherry tomatoes on it. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let them relax in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they start going wrinkly and have reduced in size. Remove and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the chopped parsley, mint, spring onion and quinoa. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and as much salt as you think is necessary.

When you’re ready to serve, scoop out a nice amount onto a plate and top with some of the cherry tomatoes, some crumbled feta, the chopped dates, and a sprinkling of the toasted almonds.

 

The salad will keep well in the fridge for at least 3 days. To ensure complete satisfaction every time you eat it, keep all the components separate in the fridge.

The most pretentious salad ever

superfood saladSometime this year we all decided to give up and open our arms to the crazy superfood which is known as kale, and chose to love it unconditionally for now and forever. Not only because it’s high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium, no, it also makes us feel like we’re getting closer to nature with all that green grassy fibre it has to offer.

I am not the first to talk about this vegetable, nor will I be the last, so I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, because what you really want is the recipe, and not me talking about my kale-ian preferences. So. Kale chips, great stuff. However, there are only so many kale chips you can make. And they’re really hard to dip into anything, which is a wee bit frustrating, because I love dips and thusly, everything should be dippable. Once my enthusiasm for crisping it dwindled, I moved on to kale salad. I only have one piece of advice for you for crucial kale salad improvement, and that is: Massage it, baby. That way the fibres break down and the grassy rawness turns into soft feathery goodness.

I came up with this recipe as more of a joke than anything else. I set myself the challenge of creating a salad with as many superfood ingredients as I could fit into one bowl, a bowl of pretentiousness, but also as it figured out, of incredible tastiness. I like it best on weekends, as a replenishing recovery after a slightly too merry a night, and also as a packed lunch. Small tip here when we’re talking about portable lunches: Do you also hate the fact that all the crispy ingredients in your lunch turn soft by the time it’s ready to be eaten? And do you keep doing it because you can’t be bothered lugging 3 different containers with you to your place of work? I have a solution for you my friend. Get your take-away container and fill it with your food of choice, making sure you leave at least 1 cm of space between the food and the top of the container. Next, grab a sheet of cling wrap and place it over the top. Now heap on your toasted nuts or croutons and click on the lid. No softened crunchy bits, ever again. You’re welcome.

 

Superfood Salad

Serves 1 really hungry person or 2 average hungry people

 

1/4 cup quinoa

1 pinch cinnamon

1/2 cup water

 

1/4 – 1/2 bunch kale (depending on the size of your bunch of course, but I’d say more is better than less)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

2 Tbsp goji berries

2 tsp chia seeds

 

Combine the quinoa, cinnamon and water in a saucepan and cook till done. I usually add a bit of veggie stock powder to flavour things at this point, but I’ll leave that decision up to you. Once it’s done, set it aside and let it cool down a bit.

Finely chop your kale, then transfer it to a bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil and start scrunching it with your hands until you can feel it soften. This will only take a minute or so. Add the cooled quinoa, the balsamic and soy sauce and toss. Once the dressing is evenly distributed, you can throw in the avocado. You can either pop it back into the fridge now and keep it for later, or heap it onto a plate and top it with the slivered almonds, goji berries and chia seeds. Yum.

Quinoa – It’s come this far

quinoa and sweet potato patties

I like food that triggers emotion. The nostalgia a slice of good, crusty bread evokes within me, transporting me back to the magnificent bakeries of Bern. The tango of crunchy, creamy, salty, and sweet of a Greek salad, winking at you with all its healthy colours screaming “Eat me! I’m good for you!” Or the guilty decadence that comes with eating something rich and chocolatey, the guilt that over the years of consumption has turned into pleasure with a hint of satisfaction. Quinoa did none of these things to me. On the rare occasion I’d be eating it I’d question it’s validity, how serious this grain was about its super powers, because in all due respect, taste-wise, it gave me nothing.

However, being the flexitarian that I am, it seemed almost ridiculous not to give it and its complete protein and minerals a fifth chance. Apparently, we all seem to need more quinoa in our lives, so who am I to argue. Even though I’m incredibly hesitant to hop on that superfood bandwagon everyone’s been going nuts about, because, you know, it’s not really my style. I don’t follow trends. I will not admit defeat, I’m too proud. But I will admit that I’m still getting over how good these little suckers taste.

quinoa times

 

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Patties

Makes 9

1 medium sweet potato

2 fat garlic cloves, unpeeled

½ cup quinoa

1 bay leaf

pinch of cinnamon

vegetable stock granules, or salt, for purists

1 Tbsp white miso

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Chop the sweet potato into 2cm cubes, and place them into the baking tray, tossing them with a glug of olive oil, and finishing with a sprinkling of salt. Wrap the two garlic cloves in aluminium foil and pop next to the sweet potato cubes. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

In the meantime, soak the quinoa in ¾ cup water in a saucepan for 15 minutes. Add the bay leaf and cinnamon and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then cover and let steam until all the liquid has evaporated and the grains are nice and fluffy.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan until they’ve all puffed up. Let them cool, than whizz them up to a fine powder in a blender. Stop before they turn into a paste.

To assemble, remove the bay leaf from the quinoa. Add the mashed sweet potato, the ground pumpkin seeds, the miso and as little or as much vegetable stock granules or salt as you think is right. Give it all a nice good stir, then, with wet hands, form into patties. Heat a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and fry those cuties until golden on each side. Done. I usually have them with some crumbled feta and a few chopped parsley leaves, sometimes even a fried egg. Best breakfast ever.

If you don’t feel like cooking them all at once, they’ll keep in the fridge for a few days.

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