Sunny Summer Quinoa Salad
This is a guest recipe from Finn Ní Fhaoláin, author of Finn’s World…
“There are lots of little bits to this salad – but, oh my God, it’s so good. I use this quantity either as a main event at a summer lunch or I keep it portioned in the fridge to take out with me.
Serves 3 or 2 ravenous humans
– 1 cup (185g) uncooked quinoa
– 2 cups (470ml) vegetable stock
– 1 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
– ½ red onion, thinly sliced
– 1 tbsp lemon juice – more if you like extra zip!
– 2 bell peppers, sliced – I use yellow mostly, for some reason I can’t stand the green ones
– 1 cup (170g) green seedless grapes
– 300g cooked tikka masala chicken (or replace with vegetarian alternative)
– ½ cup (25g) fresh coriander leaves, chopped
– 1 tube (50g) Mango ProMix
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste
1. Give the quinoa a good rinse with cold water to stop it getting a bitter taste as it cooks. I do this in a sieve, since the quinoa grains are itty-bitty and they fall out of a colander.
2. Add the quinoa, water, stock and bay leaf to a pot and bring to the boil. I don’t tend to add salt as I find the stock cube/pot is usually salty enough by itself. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. I find my stove works best on a lower setting with the lid on – if it’s too high the quinoa can bubble over. After this, I take a teeny bit out and have a nibble. If it’s done (cooked through and no gritty feeling) I take the quinoa off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes with the lid on to fluffy-ize itself. In theory, you would let this cool down, go off on your merry way and come back later when it was cool to complete the salad. But I’m usually hungry, so that doesn’t tend to happen.
3. Slice the onion in super-thin strips and soak them in the lemon juice. This takes the raw-onion-esque whack off them (and colours the lemon juice pink, which looks cool in the salad). Slice the peppers into long thin strips. Cut the grapes in half lengthways.
4. Find a lovely big salad bowl – I love the turned wooden ones – and layer up the salad: quinoa first (don’t forget to take out the bay leaf), then chicken, grapes and veggies. Chuck the lemon juice on with the onions and sprinkle over the coriander, dried cranberries and toasted seeds. Follow with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper to taste.
Get your copy of Finn’s World online with Amazon, Eason, Dubray or Gill Books in all good bookshops nationwide.
About the Author – Finn Ní Fhaoláin’s food journey began when she was diagnosed as a coeliac and became determined to recreate all her favourite dishes – this time without gluten. That difficult road led to a beautiful destination, where Finn has created food that’s not only nutritious, but tastes amazing too! Hailing from the west coast, by the age of 10 Finn had already sailed past a glacier in Alaska, stayed in a convent in the south of France and watched cobras dancing in India. She has a BSc in Earth and Ocean Science and an MSc in Marine Biology, and has completed a professional cookery course at the Lough Gill School of Culinary Arts. She lives, surfs and cooks in Bundoran on Ireland’s northwest coast.