Over the Christmas break there was a couple of days where The Sister joined me for dinner at mine. During this time, her fiance was still interstate with his family, and as they had only moved recently to their new place, she was so unfamiliar with the kitchen that she didn’t even know how to turn on a gas ring on the stovetop.
We have a tradition that every Sunday I drop by their place for dinner straight after the gym, which saves me time and effort spent with preparation, cooking and cleaning; certainly not something I have the energy for post-gym when all I want to do is conserve my energy for the upcoming week. So despite her fiance still being interstate, The Sister invited me over for dinner as per usual and I spent a good while teasing her with questions about what we would be having for dinner, if anything.
When I arrived at her place, she was handling cooking the sausages more than competently, but had no idea about the quinoa salad as it was the first time she had ever cooked with the grain. I rolled up my sleeves and moved in to help, and to both of our surprise and amusement I was able to turn on the hob my first go. I consulted the recipe she had downloaded and instantly fell in love with the simple combination of fresh flavours in this salad. Accompanied with a grilled protein, whether it be chicken breast, fish, a steak or sausages like we had, it’s a perfectly light salad yet filling carb-replacement.
This recipe will comfortably serve four.
You will need:
- 600g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes;
- 1/2 bunch fresh mint, washed;
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, washed;
- 1/2 cup white-grain quinoa;
- Half a lemon;
- One cup hazelnut kernels;
- Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper;
- Olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Scatter the pumpkin cubes onto a tray lined with foil and drizzle lightly with the olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until slightly crisp around the edges.
While that’s baking, roast your hazelnuts by placing them in a clean, dry frying pan over a low heat. The heat will bring out the oils in the nuts, which will make the skins fall off. If not all of them fall off, once the nuts are golden tip them onto a tea towel and rub gently to remove the remaining skins. Crush roughly with a mortar and pestle.
Make the quinoa by washing the grains throughly with cold water. Place in a small saucepan and cover with one cup of cold water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and cover the saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes or until the majority of the water has been absorbed. Stir and set aside, lid off, to allow the remaining water to either evaporate or be absorbed.
Chop up the parsley and mint finely, and in a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, herbs, crushed hazelnuts, and roast pumpkin. Season with the juice of half a lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Nutty, refreshing and full of texture. And not to mention so healthy it would knock any nutritionist’s socks off 😉