I had a quinoa salad on my mind when I browsing through the seafood isle of the supermarket last night. Sea food mix bag rang a loud creative bell. Shrimp, surimi, mussels, octopus, squid and scallops! I’m not a great fan of mussels or surimi, but oh boy, shrimp and scallops, I just love! So this time it was going to be a salad
I make my own broths at home, it’s been a while since I bought some from the store… So, I started off with this beef neck bone broth. Broth you use in here could be vegetable, fish or bone. It shouldn’t change the flavour much. I like cooking the chickpeas and quinoa separately the previous day and leaving them in the fridge overnight, just because a cold salad is always way better than a warm salad.
If you are like me, you’d love making your own salad dressings too. It’s always easy. There are three main parts to a good dressing. And a fourth optional part is a sweetener, if you like it with a slight sweet taste. Part one and two are equal parts of an acid and a fat.
Part three is extra flavouring. Acids I love using are apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. On occasion I have also used tomato paste and tamarind paste too, but that’s when I’m totally off tradition. I think Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the only fat I’ve ever used. Extra flavourings could be like grainy mustard, chilli paste (go easy, it’s for a salad), Onion powder, mayo, herbs, garlic, ginger grated, fish sauce, curry powder, etc. Fruit juice concentrates, liquid honey or agave syrup could be your optional sweetener.
This was an impulsive creation but was a hit… With quinoa, vegetables and seafood all together, it turned into a whole one pot main course. I might try some variations of this salad in the next few days.
- Juice of one lemon
- 3tbs of olive oil.
- 2tbs of agave syrup
- 1tsp of grainy European mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of chickpeas
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1 small bag of sea food mix
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 red onion medium
- 1 large tomato
- Half a small cucumber
- A handful of mint leaves
- A handful of Persian parsley
- To make the dressing first, in a bowl, pour in the agave, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well beating it with a whisk for 3-4 minutes until the acid and oil have completely blended. Set aside in the fridge.
- Cook the chickpeas, strain them and put them aside to cool.
- Bring the broth to a boil. Add the quinoa, cook until transparent. Check salt, add if your broth had no salt.
- Boil water in the kettle, empty the sea food bag into a pan or large heat resisting mixing bowl. Pour boiling water into the sea food mix, cover it for 3 minutes. Then strain the mix into a colander and run cold water over it until it completely cools down.
- Chop bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers into bits. Also finely chop the mint and parsley and set them aside separately.
- Mix the chickpeas, seafood mix and the quinoa together in a large bowl and add the chopped vegetables in.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, fold in the parsley and mint and toss. Serve immediately.
- If you have leftover dressing, just store it in the fridge in an airtight jar. It sits easy for up to 2 weeks.