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Tomato, cumin and lemon quinoa

My favourite ingredient of the the moment is quinoa, pronounced keen – wa; a seed rather than a grain which has been cultivated in the Andes for 5000 years and a staple in South American diets, it is a great addition or base to any salad absorbing flavours wonderfully not unlike couscous in that way but with the big benefit that quinoa is wheat and gluten free. So imagine my excitement when this week a friend gave me a packet of red and black quinoa! I have even bought seeds to have a go at growing our own this year, so will keep you posted on how we go. But don’t worry it is now available in all good supermarkets – Bolivia’s greatest export!

It is really easy to cook and a great source of protein for all vegetarians and vegans, as well as iron, magnesium and fibre.  Here I have combined  75/25  – white/red which gives a great colour and texture contrast, the red a has a little more bite. The tomatoes are enhanced with the warming flavour of cumin and the freshness of preserved lemons which are so easy to make, adding a real intensity of citrus flavour.

Here is a great recipe to follow on  How to make preserved lemons. A jar makes a wonderful present and will keep for a long time.

Read more about quinoa and see lots more recipes in Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood


Tomato, cumin and lemon quinoa

Serves 6

  • 250g quinoa (200g white, 50g red)
  • 2 tbp fruity olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbp lemon juice
  • 3 spring onions sliced finely
  • 25g basil chopped finely
  • 1 preserved lemon – cut in quarters and remove inside pith.
  • 100g sweet baby tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve with running cold water. This removes the natural coating, saponin, which is bitter. In a medium saucepan cover the quinoa with 2x it’s volume with water and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, you want the quinoa to still retain some bite

Drain thoroughly as it will hold liquid and needs to be dry before stirring in olive oil, cumin and lemon juice.

Then add the spring onions, basil and preserved lemon skin, which you have diced finely.

Slice the baby tomatoes into quarters and add, retaining a few whole tomatoes with stems to decorate. These are nice if just roasted for 5 minutes to soften and add a contrast to the other tomatoes.

Roasted pine nuts and micro leaves will also look great on this salad.

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Through The Natural Pantry I hope to share with you some of the delicious recipes discovered whilst cooking in my kitchen with produce grown in our garden and the very best natural ingredients.