Mexican Monday


Quinoa SaladQuinoa Close Up

Recently I went through my folder of recipe clippings, saved from various sources over the years. I often save recipes that look great but I’m truly hopeless at getting around to making them.

I decided to change this pattern and made a Quinoa Salad recipe from Mamasita in Melbourne out of a Delicious magazine from a few years ago. I made a few additions to improve it and I have to say, it’s really yum. Great as a side dish or use it with some beef mince to stuff a burrito. Delish.

4 corn cobs with husks
1 cup (200g) quinoa
3 cups baby spinach
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
2 long red chillies, deseeded, chopped
1 red capsicum, roasted, deseeded, peeled and chopped
250g feta cheese
toasted pepitas for garnish

Pico de gallo dressing
¼ telegraph cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
½ bunch coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped dill
juice of 3 limes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook corn in husks for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool, then remove and discard husks. Using a sharp knife, slice off corn kernels and set aside.

Meanwhile, place quinoa in a pan with 600ml water over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Cool.

For the dressing, combine ingredients in a bowl, then season to taste.

Toss corn, quinoa, spinach, coriander, chilli, capsicum and feta with the dressing. Sprinkle over the pepitas and serve.

Serves 8

Bringing a “plate” to my friend’s BBQ.


My friend Kim hosted the second BBQ of the season on Sunday. She’s always a great host but has no confidence in the kitchen and can barely work her own oven, let alone sharpen a knife. Bearing this in mind, I was all too happy to bring a couple of salads along when she asked and took the opportunity to cook things that might be a bit higher in fat than I’d usually make. I made myself feel better about this with the knowledge that they were going to be shared around so, Alex and I wouldn’t be finishing them by ourselves.

Mixed Grain Salad
100g red quinoa, rinsed
100g white quinoa, rinsed
100g French green lentils, rinsed
100g pearl barley, rinsed
30g butter
2 cloves garlic. crusned
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
25g chopped almonds
1/4 bunch mint
1/4 bunch parlsey
2 spring onions, sliced
Sherry dressing
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
120ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

For the mixed grain salad, place red and white quinoa in separate saucepans, cover with cold water to come about 1cm over quinoa. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook lentils in a saucepan of water for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain. Toast pearl barley in a dry frying pan until golden, then transfer to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain.

Melt butter in a small saucepan and when foaming add garlic, thyme, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds and cook until toasted. Remove from heat and cool. Coarsely chop mint and parsley. Combine grains, seeds and almonds in a bowl with chopped herbs.

For dressing, combine vinegar, sugar and oil in a small bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with spring onions.

Serves 6




Frank Camorra’s Roast Carrot and Quinoa Salad. This was just what I needed last night. I absolutely loved it. As usual, I cut down on the fat by not dressing the rocket and only used a spray of extra virgin olive oil to dress the quinoa and roast the carrots and onion. Click the photo if you’d like the recipe. There’s also another nice salad using freekeh on the same page though it’s probably too high in fat for the diet I’m on.



John Amek’s Ghanaian-Style Quinoa Salad from Kylie Kwong’s book “It Tastes Better” with 100g chicken breast. Yum and not a drop of oil, recipe below.

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups of water
Pinch of salt flakes
1/2 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 small ripe tomato, diced
1 small cucumber, diced
6 black olives, pitted & sliced
1/2 bunch of chives, chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked & chopped
1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
1 sprig marjoram, leaves picked
1 tablespoon of tamari sauce
Juice of 2 lemons

Place quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain well. Place in a medium sized pan wih the water and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. When cooked, the quinoa grains appear translucent and their germ ring becomes visible. Spread quinoa on to a large plate to cool. Meanwhile, blanch peas for one minute in a pan of boiling water, drain and refresh under cold running water. Combine quinoa, peas and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and serve.

Serves 4 -6