If visiting family interstate for a couple of weeks taught me something it's this: eating out of someone else's kitchen is the mother of culinary invention. If you're travelling, house-sitting, or for whatever reason don't have access to your favourite go-to ingredients, rather than getting frustrated or feeling defeated why not view it as an opportunity to get creative? It's moments like these when some of my favourite meals come into being; I may not even know quite what I'm making until I'm almost done, I just start putting things together and see where the food leads me. In this case it was to a refreshing, satisfying and nutritious lunch. Can't have too many yummy salad ideas methinks.
For a nut-free version, skip the almonds and seeds if needs be.
- 4 eggs
- Spices as follow:
- 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅔ cup quinoa
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper (optional, to taste)
- ¾ cup lime-infused yoghurt (recipe below)
- 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 cups leafy greens (I used baby spinach and baby kale but other greens, based on your preferences and availability, should also work; for larger leaves remove any tough or fibrous stems and cut or tear the leaves into bite sized pieces)
- ½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
- 2 teaspoon chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons linseeds
Hard boil the eggs: Place eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to completely cover them. Bring water to a boil over a high heat then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile combine the spices in the bottom of a saucepan and heat gently until fragrant. Set aside about 1 teaspoon of the spices but leave the rest in the saucepan. Add the quinoa and canola oil to the saucepan with the spices and stir to combine. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat for 5 minutes (this will allow it to cool a bit so it doesn't hiss too much and spit your quinoa out of the when you add water). Add 1¼ cups water to the saucepan, stir to mix with the quinoa, and return to the stove. Simmer over a low heat until water is absorbed and quinoa just cooked, adding a little extra water if needed. The quinoa will be cooked when the little rings start to separate from the central seed.
Once the eggs are cool enough to handle you can peel them (this can also be done under running cold water while the eggs are still hot): tap all sides against a hard surface, like your kitchen bench, to crack the shell then peel it away; getting under the thin 'skin' between the egg and shell will make it easier to peel the shell away.
Cut the eggs into about 1 cm (½ inch) chunks. In a small bowl, toss the eggs with the teaspoon of spices you set aside earlier, the olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper, if using. Add eggs to the quinoa along with the tomatoes and toss to combine.
To serve, divide leafy greens between bowls then top with quinoa salad. Spoon the lime-infused yoghurt over the top and sprinkle with the almonds, chia seeds and linseeds. Toss or mix it all together to eat!
Makes about ¾ cup
- 1 lime
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves
- ⅔ cup natural yoghurt
- freshly ground black pepper
Use the finest side of your grater or a microplane to zest the lime; then juice the lime. Finely chop the mint. Combine mint, lime zest and juice and yoghurt in a small bowl and mix to combine. Season with a pinch or two of pepper, to taste.