THE WINTER SALAD

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I forgot how much I love quinoa; I go through phases of eating one thing at every opportunity - recently my affair with Cinnamon and Blueberry Porridge has died a painful death, and now breakfast is impossible - and then I begin to look else where for taste sensations, forgetting about some of the great and diverse foods out there for filling your tum.

Quinoa wouldn't be back if it wasn't for Lily Pebbles' Red Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe, a true taste sensation which inspired my own version for lazy grazing at lunchtime, a perfect side at dinnertime, or for those times between when you're peckish and want something good. Packed with colour, flavour and so many textures, you have to give this a go for any healthy winter's day.

Ingredients (serves 4)
For the Salad:  150g either White or Red Quinoa | 20g Chopped Fresh Mint and Parsley | 50g Pomegranate Seeds | 50-70g Spring Onions (white and green parts) | 5cm Chunk of Cucumber | ½ Large Carrot Pumpkin Seeds | Seasame Seeds | ½ a small Butternut Squash (just the neck for ease of cutting) | 2 Tbsp Clear Honey | 2 Tsp Mixed Spice | 3 Tsp Cinnamon Powder 
For the Dressing  Olive Oil | Lemon Juice



1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c and add some oil to a baking tray for roasting. Cut the Butternut Squash into chunky cubes, and coat in the oil with the seeds, mixed spice, cinnamon and clear honey before roasting for 35 minutes.



2. Chop and dice the cucumber and spring onions, and cut the fresh mint and parsley into a bowl using scissors for a finer texture. Make the quinoa as instructed on your chosen packet - if you have pre-cooked quinoa, simply add some hot water a tablespoon at a time until moist.


3. Once the butternut squash is roasted, turn off the heat and allow to keep warm until serving. In a serving bowl, drizzle the olive oil and lemon to build layers and a good coating - start with the quinoa and chopped herbs and mix, then add in the onions, cucumber and grate in half a carrot before combining together again. Top with the pomegranate, hot butternut squash, seeds and some of the oil, giving it one last stir and then serve!



Very  quick, very  easy, and very  tasty. This is so easy to whip up for lunch or dinner, and goes down a treat at a birthday party with its bursts of flavour and filling properties. Quinoa has a lot of nutrients and a great fluffy texture which makes it a more interesting base than spinach in a winter mix - fills you up so you're more satisfied - but serve it alongside some protein and green leaves and you'll have a very varied and nutritious meal you can keep in the fridge for 3 days to quickly jazz up any dish.

Pomegranates and butternut squash have a lovely sweet flavour and blend of textures that compliment the savoury quinoa and pumpkin seeds, along with fresh, clean cucumbers and parsley to excite your tastebuds; if you haven't decided yet whether you need to make this for lunch, you absolutely have to. It's cost-effective, keeps easily in the fridge and you know exactly what's gone into it which is great if you're on a healthy track for the new year.

If you're looking for a new food phase or just something to make your old favourite a bit more exciting, get out the quinoa and spices and you've got a dish made in winter heaven.



Have you been trying to stay healthy this January? Do you ever get hooked on a certain food or meal? Will you be giving quinoa based salads a go?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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