Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate


This is a spectacular salad the basis of which is Quinoa. Easy to cook, a great source of protein and combined with vegetables and topped with pomegranate seeds and dressing was just beautiful to eat.  We had this accompanied by the lamb meatballs I have posted on before although I varied them slightly by replacing the spices in the recipe with a tablespoon of ras el hanout which was a really great addition. This is a Moroccan spice blend (it means ‘top of the shop’ I believe) and refers to the blend of the best spices a merchant can offer… The spice version of a ‘top shelf’ perhaps?. Containing lots of classic Moroccan spices and widely available, I used a version from www.spiceentice.com which won a great taste gold award in 2011.
The dressing adds a lovely dimension of zingy flavour which just seemed to go very well with the colours and flavours of the rest of the dish.

Serves 4
1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups of stock until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is soft and fluffy
1 red onion finely chopped
1/2 red, yellow and green pepper finely chopped (Or all the same colour if that’s all you have)
2 tbsp of mint chopped finely
2 tbsp of coriander chopped finely
4 cherry tomatoes deseeded and chopped
Seeds from 1/2 Pomegranate (called arils!)

Extract the seeds by placing the cut half of the pomegranate onto the palm of your hand and give the fruit lots of good bangs and the seeds will pop out. I do this over a bowl and let the seeds drop into the bowl. I actually use the main body of my knife sharpener to whack the fruit with. (If you have seen Jamie on telly, you will have seen him do this, much easier than soaking the fruit!)

Combine all the ingredients except for the pomegranate seeds with the quinoa and season really well.
Top with the little red jewels and pour the dressing over the salad just before serving.

2 tbsp of Juice from 1/2 blood orange
6 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Combine and shake, Taste and if seems a bit sharp, add a glug more olive oil. If a bit underwhelming, then add a tsp or 2 more of the blood orange juice. Whn you are happy pour over the quinoa.

We loved this dish for its flavours, the protein and vitamins from it are a great benefit too.

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