This is a great recipe to try if you’re entertaining friends, because it makes a lot of food and it’s easy to make, so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. It’s also one of those ones where you can make it in advance – which is always great!
(serves 4-6, easily)
1 cup quinoa
1 garlic clove
1 large shallot – finely diced
1 jalepinio , deseeded and finely sliced
2 limes, juiced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
2 ripe avocados, sliced
Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt.
Rinse your quinoa under cold water and then add to the pan – you’ll want to cook this until tender. How do you know when it’s ready? I still have trouble being able to tell, because the grain is so small, so I’d just say after 10-15 minutes you should be good to go!
drain the quinoa and spread it out onto a baking sheet to cool – this will help it dry out (you don’t want a soggy salad!) and also cool quite quickly.
Whilst that’s cooling, take a pinch of salt and your garlic clove and pop into a bowl. If you have a pestle and mortar you can crush these together to make a grainy paste – if you don’t you can do what I do and just use the back of a table spoon to grind it together.
Next, add this paste, the diced shallots, jalepino and lime juice into a small bowl – season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir. You’ll want to let this sit for about 10 minutes. This will be your dressing. After it’s rested add your table spoon of oil into the bowl and stir. It may not seem like a lot, but you can always add oil later, you can’t take it out if you put too much in!
Next, take your quinoa, the red peppers and cucumber and put them into your serving bowl (I like to use a large glass bowl so you can see it all) and stir in 3/4 of your dressing. You can season to taste again, depending on how salty/peppery you like it.
When serving, pop your sliced avocado onto the plates, spoon out the quinoa salad and drizzle with the remaining dressing. If you feel you’d like more oil, add it, but I find that it’s not needed.
This sounds like it will take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s all in the prep.
Serve this with warmed pitta bread (yes, I love pitta!).
I’d also suggest serving this with olives, humous, and mint yoghurt – it’s great food to pass around in a party and it’s really healthy. For someone who loves eating, I can say I was truly full from this meal, and there was plenty of left overs, even with 5 of us eating it.