Friday, July 17, 2015



Quinoa has been quite the superfood the past two years. It's packed full of protein, is really filling, and so good for you. It also smells funny when it's cooking, is a little bitter if you don't wash it properly, and difficult to get right the first time. But I have persisted despite a few quinoa disasters (and now am a self-declared Quinoa Queen).

All credit for this salad goes to one of my favourite local restaurants, The Firehouse. I first had this salad there a couple of years ago, and while this item has been off the menu for some time (they change their menu with each season), my tastebuds lust for it time and time again. While it's not completely exactly what they did, I think it's pretty close!

With the crunch of the hazelnuts, the nuttiness of the quinoa, the sweetness of the honey and dates, the salty of the feta, and the peppery bite of the red onion and rocket; it's the perfect combination. Plus it's so filling all by itself. If you're a salad lover, then this salad is for you. You can fiddle with the ingredients so the balance is right for your taste. I hope you like it as much as I do!

1 cup quinoa
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 tbsp beetroot, quartered (we used our own garden produce)
6 tbsp goat's feta, crumbled
500g rocket
20 hazelnuts, roasted and whole
10 dates, chopped in half lengthways
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp warm water
sea salt to taste

1 Rinse quinoa thoroughly until water runs clear. Cook in 2 1/2 cups of salted water until it comes to the boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa grows little tails. Season it with sea salt.
2 While quinoa is cooking, mix the warm water and honey together until combined. Place all other ingredients in a bowl, add quinoa once it is cooked, and mix through with honey dressing. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Makes two large adult serves on its own, or makes a side salad for six.

NOTE Now, that I have a few quinoa recipes (more to come!), I find that cooking up a large batch and then cooling it in the fridge is much better than cooking a small batch every time. Once the quinoa is cooked, it seems to be a bit gluggy when it's still warm, but after it has been in the fridge, you can just separate it with a fork. It's light and fluffy. This salad doesn't have to be warm, in fact, it's perfect to prepare for the evening before and put it together for a work lunch.