Quinoa is a grain grown for its edible seeds that contain nutrients such as calcium and iron. Quinoa is high in protein, and easy to prepare - I call it Grace proof (for that sister that gets cornflakes and milk wrong)! It makes for the perfect lunch on the go!
I’ve had many cooks with quinoa, and recently discovered a combination that quinoa truly loves … A few heaped spoonfuls of homemade pesto mixed through a big bowl of fluffy quinoa – match made in heaven! Add some peas, edamame, crispy bacon, dried cranberries, and you have yourself a cracking good salad!
1 cup uncooked quinoa
¾ cup cooked peas
¾ cup cooked edamame beans
½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
3 rashes smoked bacon
2 big handfuls of rocket
100g pine nuts
1 fresh bunch basil
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 lemon, juice of
¼ cup good quality olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. cracked pepper
Cook the quinoa according to the packets instructions. I cup of uncooked quinoa should make roughly 2 cups of cooked quinoa. Transfer the quinoa to a large salad bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
Next, make your pistachio pesto. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds or until it forms a rough paste. Be careful not to over-process the pesto because it can become too thick. Taste the pesto to see if it needs extra seasoning. Set aside.
Heat a fry pan to a high heat and add your bacon. Cook on both sides until the bacon is golden and crispy. Transfer to a plate with paper towel. Once the bacon has slightly cooled, roughly chop it into 1 cm pieces and set aside.
Add ¾ of your pesto to the quinoa along with the peas, edamame, dried cranberries, crispy bacon and rocket. Toss the salad with two spoons until the pesto has coated everything. Taste to see if the salad needs a final pinch of salt or pepper and serve!