I, by no means, live a very healthy lifestyle. Always the fatty at heart, I’m at my happiest when I’m merrily stuffing my face, and it’s only when the next days hit that I realise how slightly off-balance I feel after a bout of indulgence. This is when I go through a ‘detox’ phase, which involves copious amounts of exercise and attempting to eat healthier and drinking gallons of green tea.
While some swear by leafy green salads, I see plain, leafy green salads as more of a side, like a side to fish and chips or schnitzel. As much as I wish otherwise, crunching on plain green leaves has never been my thing, and so I need to make my healthy meals a little more palatable.
I came up with this recipe on the late morning of election day, and it has been a good take-to-work lunch to pre-make earlier in the week as the quinoa takes such a short amount of time to cook. At the time, I used a pre-cooked roasted salmon fillet that I had bought from the fish markets, but recently have begun to just bake my own, which is what I’ve done here. Feel free to substitute it with any other protein, and the vegetables with whatever you have in the fridge and freezer.
To serve two, you will need:
- 1/4 cup white grain quinoa;
- 1/2 cup cold water, and another two cups extra;
- 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock;
- One fresh salmon fillet, pin-boned;
- Half a lemon;
- Four strands fresh thyme leaves;
- 1/2 bunch broccolini, washed, trimmed, cut into pieces;
- 1 cup frozen green peas;
- Handful of pine nuts, toasted;
- One red capsicum;
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves;
- Sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper;
- Garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil (or regular).
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Line two baking trays with aluminium foil.
Take the top off the capsicum, slice in half and remove the seeds. Cut into eight and lay the pieces onto the first baking tray, skin-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and place on the top-most shelf in the oven.
Put the salmon onto the second lined tray and squeeze over the lemon juice from the lemon, before slicing the lemon into pieces and placing it around the fish. Scatter with thyme leaves, salt flakes and pepper, then slide into the oven under the capsicum. Roast both for 20 minutes or so until the skin on the capsicum is charred black, and when the flesh on the salmon pulls away easily with a fork and is pink.
Wash the quinoa using a sieve under running cold water, and drain before placing into a small saucepan. Add the cold water and stock before bringing it to the boil on the stovetop. Once it comes to the boil, turn heat to the lowest setting and put the lid on, cooking for 10 minutes or so until the water is mostly absorbed and the quinoa is semi-translucent with a white ring around the edge. Keep the lid on for the quinoa to absorb any residual water.
Peel off the charred skin and slice the roasted capsicum, shred the salmon into large pieces and with the quinoa, add into a large bowl. In the saucepan, place back onto the heat and boil two cups worth of water. When tumbling, throw in the trimmed broccolini and peas. Blanch for about 30 seconds before removing from the heat, draining and adding the vegetables to the large bowl. Mix and season with sea salt flakes, freshly cracked black pepper and dress with a little more of the olive oil.
A variety of beautiful textures, ample protein and vegetables, incredibly flavoursome, and so healthy that a personal trainer won’t be able to berate you for anything 😉