Having been a bulgur wheat fanatic for years I hadn’t really given quinoa the time of day although it seems to have become a very fashionable thing to eat, especially as Gluten Free diets such as Paleo have become increasingly popular. I recently read that quinoa, although often referred to as a grain, is actually classified as a pseudocereal (plants that produce fruits or seeds) and is in the same botanical family as spinach, beets and Swiss chard. Needless to say, I felt that it was time to give it a go and what better way than in a salad with lovely colourful fruit and vegetables.
I was having some of the girls over for Sunday lunch and I decided to try a Jamie Oliver recipe that had been suggested to me. It is basically Quinoa with lots of yummy things like chili, lime, halloumi and mango- can’t really go wrong with that sort of line up!
I have a great Turkish fruit and vegetable shop round of the corner from me so I went there to get the majority of the ingredients.
For the quinoa salad you will need:
- 300g Quinoa
- Fresh red and/or green chilis (depending on how hot you like it)
- 2 Limes
- A bunch of fresh mint
- A bunch of fresh coriander
- 2 Avocados
- 1 Mango
- 2 Colourful peppers
- 4 Chicken breasts (these I got from Tesco)
To coat the chicken Jamie Oliver suggests all spice and paprika, which I already had, but you can get both of these in almost any shop. In retrospect, for me, it could have been spicier so next time I think I would use some Jerk Seasoning or maybe add some chilli powder into the spice mix. You rub about 2/3 teaspoons of yumminess all over the chicken breasts and then wrap them in baking paper and bash with a rolling pin to flatten them out (good stress relief). I then put them aside to cook later.
Being a Quinoa virgin I just had to trust the pack instructions for cooking time and sort of guessed the amount of water. It came out fine and takes about 15/20 minutes on a gentle simmer. Meanwhile I prepared all the salad bits to go into the Quinoa, and the dressing. I left all of this to cool until my guests arrived.
When we were ready I fried the chicken breasts in some coconut oil, and added the peppers into the pan too. When the chicken was nicely browned and cooked I sliced it and mélanged all the loveliness together and bobs your uncle!