Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Pumpkin & Fresh Greens {GUEST POST}

Hello!  Hello! Have I got a treat for you today!
The very fabulous Jodie from Fresh Home Cook  is here and who after being coerced with large sums of money happily agreed to write a GUEST POST for Gluten Free Hart (and is our very first GUEST!!)
I am mildly envious (ok A LOT) at her ability to GROW amazing things let alone COOK amazing things so you can go ahead and marvel at her capabilities and hopefully be inspired perhaps to grow your own.. or at the very least, cook something delish from stuff that others have..  Read on punters.. BE AMAZED

and when I say AMAZED, I mean swing by her blog and share some of your loving cause she really is ALL THAT :)

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachios & Fresh Greens

Hello lovely people who love Gluten Free Hart as much as I do!  I was very excited when I came across Tara's blog, it has such a beautiful feel & look.  Once I looked through her gorgeous recipes, I was absolutely hooked!  So, when Tara asked me to guest post, I was thrilled - I think I even did a little happy dance!  :)
While my recipes are not all gluten free, I do have family members who are coeliac, &, as a foodie, I love to experiment with all types of food & flavours to make wholesome & (mostly) healthy dishes that my whole family enjoys (mostly).  With two little ones under four, fussy eating is an issue for us, so coming up with clever ways to add the 'good stuff' to our menu is part of the fun of it all (mostly)!  ;)

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachios & Fresh Greens

We are fortunate enough to have our own little veggie patches in the backyard, meaning I get to cook with what's fresh & in season.  At the moment, our garden is jam packed with peas & beans, carrots & herbs.  It is a little smorgasbord of fresh greens & with the weather warming up as we get further into the Spring time, for me that means making all things salad!  
One of my favourite ingredients is quinoa.  I know ... it's all the rage these 'super-paleo-clean-eating-grain-free-cala-fraga-listic-food' days, but I can honestly say I have been eating this colourful little seed for a long time, since well before the hype & I just love it.  
According to Wikipedia quinoa is a superfood, whose Protein content is very high for a cereal/pseudo-cereal (14% by mass), yet not as high as most beans and legumes. Quinoa's protein content per 100 calories is higher than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet, but is less than wild rice and oats.[30] Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein.[31][32][33] Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.[34] Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachios & Fresh Greens

For those reasons alone, it is hard to go past, but you know what, it also has a great texture & when infused with the right combination of flavours, it makes one of the best salad bases you can eat.  It comes in three colours, white, red & black - apart from the obvious difference, they cook & taste the same.  I like to mix them together, it makes for a great visual & given we eat as much with our eyes as our taste buds, it just adds to the experience.
The recipe I am sharing here is one I love to savour, either on it's own as the perfect light lunch, or as a side dish with a main meal.  I am a big fan of all things pumpkin, especially roasted, the rich, soft texture melds beautifully with the light & fluffy quinoa seeds & the creaminess of marinated feta cheese.  Cut through with the crunch of toasted pistachios & fresh garden greens, this dish is a wonderful feast for the senses & will leave you satisfied, without that heavy feeling of overindulgence.
Anyway, enough from me, here's how it goes;

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Pumpkin & Fresh Greens

750 grams pumpkin - Kent or Butternut - seeded & sliced into wedges approx. 1cm thick - no need to skin
1 - 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons of Moroccan Seasoning (or similar) - I use Masterfoods
1 cup quinoa - any colour, or combine them as I do - well rinsed
2 cups of water or low salt vegetable stock
250 grams broad beans - fresh or frozen
A small pinch salt
250 grams snow peas, roughly chopped
2 small radishes, thinly sliced
A big handful of baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
A big handful of Italian parsley, roughly chopped
A big handful of baby carrot tops, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, or raisins
3 tablespoons of pepitas & sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Juice of 1/2 lemon
50 grams or so of marinated feta cheese - (I used South Cape)
2 teaspoons or so of feta marinade for dressing salad
Preheat oven to 210oC (non fan forced).
Slice pumpkin into about 1cm thick wedges & place on baking tray in single layer.
Drizzle pumpkin with extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat both sides.
Sprinkle pumpkin slices with chopped pistachios & moroccan seasoning.
Roast for about 30 minutes or until pumpkin is tender & beginning to caramelise.
Using a medium saucepan, cover quinoa with water or stock.
Place over high heat, bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover & simmer for about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed & quinoa is tender.
Allow to cool.
Place broad beans in a small saucepan & cover with water & salt. If your broad beans are fresh & in the pods, remove them first.
Blanch the beans in the boiling water for about 2 minutes.
Drain & refresh with cold water.
Drain again & gently peel the light green skins off the beans - underneath you will see the gorgeous green flesh - this is the part you want!
Roughly chop the snow peas, spinach & parsley.
Thinly slice the radishes.
Dry toast the pepitas & sesame seeds over high heat in fry pan until they start to just start to crackle & change colour - about 3 minutes.
Making the Salad;
In a large bowl combine the quinoa with the chopped greens, radish, cranberries, pepitas & sesame seeds.
Season with the lemon juice & a little of the feta marinade.
Toss gently to mix.
Spread the quinoa mix over a large serving platter or plate, top with the roasted pumpkin & pistachios.
Crumble the feta over everything.
Sprinkle with a little more feta marinade & any left over pistachios.
You can use any kind of greens or herbs you prefer in this dish. I used what I was fortunate enough to have in the garden. 
Serve this cool or if you prefer, you can warm it slightly before eating - just don't nuke on too high a heat it, or it will lose the freshness.
Serve as a single dish or as part of a main meal. (I served it with slow cooked pork medallions with sweet potato & apple sauce - recipe will be on the blog soon!).
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachios & Fresh Greens

A huge thanks to Tara for having me on her beautiful blog - I really appreciate the opportunity & hope you like this recipe as much as we do.

Jodie xx

Cook!  Eat!  Enjoy!