Quinoa is filling – a little goes a long way. It's a seed from the goosefoot or fat hen family, so it's a good source of protein, gluten-free, easy to digest, as well as being high in magnesium and iron. Smoked chicken is a very tasty addition.
For 6 as a main course, or 8-10 as a starter
- 300g quinoa
- 600ml of good quality vegetable bouillon or stock
- 4 small or 2 medium courgettes (about 300g) - when summer begins use a mix of colours, yellow and deep/pale green
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 large bunch mixed spring herbs (about 60g) – coriander, with flowers if possible, mint, flat-leaved parsley, chervil and sorrel, roughly chopped (save a few coriander and whole mint leaves for garnishing the salad)
- 30g pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or pine nuts, dry fried
- 200g feta, roughly crumbled
- Seeds of 1 pomegranate (optional)
- Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
First cook the quinoa by putting it into a pan with the vegetable stock (if using fresh stock, not bouillon, add a pinch of salt). Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes (without a lid), or until all the liquid has evaporated – keep an eye on it. The cooked seed has a tiny curly tail and should have a slight bite to it. Take the pan off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Spoon into a large serving bowl, then fork through gently and allow to cool.
Very thinly slice the courgette into a large mixing bowl (a mandolin is great for this). Pour over 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add the juice and zest of a lemon and the crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper and give it a gentle stir. Allow to marinade for up to an hour, or a little less if you like the courgette to have more bite.
Add the courgette mixture, the roughly chopped herbs and pumpkin seeds, stir through and season with salt and pepper, and possibly a little extra lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil, to taste.
Top with some extra fresh coriander or whole mint leaves and serve.
This recipe featured in the Sarah Raven Calendar 2015.