Now it’s summer, we often yearn for more fresh, fruity flavours. This is a great salad to add to a barbecue, take out on picnics or enjoy around the table on a summer evening. A big bonus is that it’s so simple and quick to prepare.

Quinoa is one of my favourite ingredients – rich in nutrients, versatile in flavour – and makes the base of this dish. The soft apricots combine with the crunchy pistachios and the lemon zest adds the final pizaz!

The pesto I have used here is vegan yet I add nutritional yeast which gives a cheesy flavour. This ingredient can easily be omitted and still creates a lovely dish so don’t worry if you don’t have it. If you prefer, the quinoa also goes great with some yummy hummus (…what doesn’t?!).

Tip: This is a base dish that works great with the addition of any vegetables you have lying around in the fridge. For example, courgette, peas, pepper, tomato, grated carrot and avocado would all go well.

Ingredients:                  (2 portions)

2/3 c Quinoa
1 handful Pistachios
6 unsulphured dried Apricots
1 small handful Parsley
1 Lemon

For the Pesto:
1 clove Garlic
1 Lemon
2 tsp Nutritional Yeast
1 large handful Walnuts
2 handfuls of Basil
5 tbsps Olive Oil

First, boil the kettle and rinse the quinoa. Cook it in a saucepan with double the amount of water, the zest and juice of half a lemon and the sliced apricots. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer for around 10-12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Meanwhile, make the pesto by blending all the ingredients in a blender. You might need to scrape the contents off the sides and then blend again. Roughly chop the pistachios and dry fry in a pan for a few minutes. When the quinoa has finished cooking, let it cool for a few minutes before stirring in the last half of the lemon juice along with the toasted pistachios, chopped parsley and pesto (or top with hummus). Finnish with salt and pepper.

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