This versatile salad is happy to fulfil many roles. Serve it as a delicious side dish, as an appetiser as part of a meze, or enjoy it as a light main meal. It is nutritious, full of flavour and will suit many people with specific dietary requirements as it is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan.
2cupsflat-leaf parsley loosely packed, very finely slicedSee Note 2
½cupfresh mint leaves, finely slicedSee Note 3
3spring onions/scallions, finely slicedSee Note 4
250gmcherry tomatoes, quartered See Note 5
2tablespoonfreshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)See Note 6
½cupextra virgin olive oilSee Note 7
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Put the quinoa in a fine-meshed sieve and rinse well under cold, running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.
Add 2 cups of water to a medium-size saucepan. Add the quinoa. Over medium-high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes, until the seeds are tender. When they are cooked you will notice that they have little curly “tails”.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Place a clean tea towel or 3 layers of paper towel over the saucepan. Put the lid back on and set aside for 5 minutes. The tea towel/paper towel will absorb excess moisture.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then turn it into a bowl and leave to cool completely.
Add the finely sliced parsley, mint, spring onions/scallions and quartered tomatoes to the quinoa.
Add the olive oil and lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently toss the ingredients together.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, adding more olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper as required. The salad should have a bright, lemony flavour but adjust it to your personal taste.
Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.
It is important to thoroughly rinse the quinoa. The outside of the quinoa has a naturally occurring chemical, called saponin, which deters insects. It has a bitter taste and rinsing well helps to remove this coating. After rinsing, it is essential to thoroughly drain the quinoa. After draining, I place the sieve on a few layers of kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture.
Do not use a food processor to chop the parsley, the processor will bruise the leaves. Instead, you will need a very sharp knife. Gather the parsley leaves together, hold them firmly with one hand and with the other hand, very finely slice them. You can use a small amount of the parsley stalk. Use more parsley if you wish. There are regional variations for this salad, and some have parsley as the starring ingredient. It is a matter of taste.
The mint should also be chopped by hand, as in the note above. You should use only the leaves of the mint.
I used the white and green part of the spring onions. Just remove the root.
I use cherry tomatoes are they generally have a sweeter flavour. However, if you have large tomatoes that you would like to use this is fine. Either remove the seeds and use just the flesh or chop the whole tomatoes and drain them well before adding to the quinoa. Excess tomato juice will make the salad soggy.
Lemon juice is a key flavouring ingredient in this recipe. As such, it is essential that the juice be freshly squeezed.
I prefer extra virgin olive oil for its superior flavour and health-benefiting nutrients.