Lemon & Herb Quinoa

I'm excited to have my Mama here for the week, leading up to a wee holiday for Max. Its become a ritual for us, she comes to Auckland for a few days, spends time with my brothers and I, takes Finn for huge walks and helps me with my busy life. She loves to fold my washing and she loves to take the pressure off me for a few days. Then, at the end of the week, she'll take Max home for four or five days - he has a wonderful time at my parents land, which is laden with dense bush, vegetable gardens and a thriving orchard as well as the recent addition of a miniature pony, Dunny Boy. I love that he has a break from city life and has quality time with my parents. 
While she is here I love to make beautiful lunches for the two of us. Today I've made a delicious warm-ish greek inspired salad, loaded with salty kalamata olives, slow roasted vine ripened tomatoes that have been sitting on a bed of herbs and bay leaf and creamy feta. By the time you've popped that juicy tomato, there is really no need for a dressing through this salad. I've also added a generous spoonful of my lemon and herb quinoa, which we eat several times a week, in varying ways. 

This is my wonderfully simple and versatile quinoa recipe, which can be used to accompany so many meals throughout the week, making them high in protein and lower in carbohydrates. I allow the herbs to dictate what we have it with. Using mint & coriander it takes place of rice alongside a curry, or flat leaf parsley it takes place of a mash under a deliciously warm and hearty casserole - or simply tossed with roasted butternut and garlic with a sprinkling of creamy feta, for lunch or a light dinner. It will keep in the fridge for a day or two, so I tend to make a large bowl for lunches in the days following. 
It is simple to prepare quinoa, although to have a light and fluffy result I would defiantly recommend buying an organic brand. I talk more about cooking quinoa in the method below, where I go against the cooking instructions that are on most packets - but am often asked how I get such a fluffy result, so can safely say I do a pretty good job! Rule breaking since the mid-80s is working for me. ;)


1 cup quinoa - preferably organic 
2 tbsp virgin olive oil 
juice of 1 large lemon 
2 cloves garlic, crushed
generous handful of fresh herbs: flat leaf parsley, coriander, mint
sea salt & pepper 


Wash and drain quinoa several times through cold water. If time allows, it is great to let it sit in a sieve and dry. Add prepared quinoa to a medium sized pot and cover with two cups of water. Keep the lid off and bring to a boil, stir and reduce to low and allow the quinoa to simmer for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level and add a little more if needed. While the quinoa is simmering prepare the dressing. In a mixing bowl add olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped herbs and season with sea salt and pepper. Gently stir. When the quinoa is cooked (although 10-12 minutes is fairly accurate I like to also taste), immediately transfer into the bowl with dressing and fluff with a fork. Taste and season a little more if required. 

Serves approx. 4

Enjoy. x Zoe


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