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What is there not to love about quinoa?  It is high in protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and fibre as well as being gluten-free and easy to digest.  It’s lighter than rice or couscous, so makes an ideal summer lunch or side dish.  This salad is quick and simple to make, so can form a part of any midweek meal.  I had this as a side to a tofu burger, so I really topped up on protein!  I then added a little watercress on the side for a gorgeous contrast in colours.

Lovely Qunioa Salad

 Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 avocado
1 clementine
2 spring onions
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1tsp dried mixed herbs like basil and oregano

Cook the quinoa in the water for about 15 minutes and leave to cool.  Peel the avocado and cut into small pieces.  Peel the clemetine, removing as much pith as possible and divide into segments.  Chope the spring onions.  Mix all with the quinoa

Make the dressing by shaking the oil, vinegar, mustard and herbs in a jar.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix well.

This lovely, satisfying recipe came about when a shortage of fresh veg necessitated a rifle through the freezer.  I like to cook up batches of dried beans and freeze what I don’t use straight away, as it saves time compared to preparing an amount for each recipe, as I used to do.  I also keep in some frozen brussel sprouts as they work well frozen and make good emergency leafy greens!  I added cream cheese to the stew at the end of cooking which resulted in a lovely creamy texture, but you can leave that out for a vegan stew.

To cook adzuki beans from dried:  Soak them overnight, drain them and cook them in fresh water for 45 – 60 minutes until soft.  Boil for at least 10 minutes at the start of cooking and don’t add salt to the water.

Lovely purple dried adzuki beans


Adzuki Bean Stew

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large celery sticks, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 cupful brussel sprouts (frozen)
1/2 cup sweetcorn kernels (frozen)
1 tblsp olive oil
1 cupful cooked adzuki beans
Enough water to cover
Salt and black pepper
1 tblsp cream cheese (optional)

Stir fry the onion, celery, garlic, chilli and ginger in the olive oil for a couple of minutes, then add the pepper, sweetcorn and brussel sprouts and cook for another five minutes.  Add the adzuki beans and stir to coat them in the oil, then add enough water to cover the other ingredients. 

the ingredients of the stew are a lovely mix of bright colours

Bring back to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper, then stir in the cream cheese if desired, just before serving.  Delicious served with brown basmati rice.

Creamy Adzuki Bean Stew

I had lunch in one of my favourite roadside restaurants at the weekend, the Lime Tree in Chepstow (See my review on Offmotorway M48), where I had a ‘Superfood Salad’.  I have to confess that I rather undid all the super-ness of the meal by ordering a side of fries, but hey, I was delighted to find something vegan, gluten free and highly nutritious for my lunch.

When the waiter came to clear our plates, he asked me what I had thought of the salad, as it was the first time it had featured on the menu and I was the first to order it!  I hadn’t been prepared for the question, and as I had cleared my plate with relish I just said that it  had been very good.  But later I found myself wondering what the ingredients would be in my perfect superfood salad.

This one had come with blueberries and pumpkin seeds, undoubtedly on anyone’s superfood list, but also with apples, grapes, oranges and iceberg lettuce.  Certainly apples, grapes and oranges are pretty good nutritionally speaking, but the iceberg lettuce should probably have been replaced with a dark green leafy mix including watercress, spinach and maybe some baby kale.

Also, without the chips the meal would have left me pretty hungry, so I think I would have added some roast sweet potato or squash and added more protein with some beans and walnuts.  Then to make sure I was eating the full rainbow in one meal, I’d add beetroot, red pepper and grated carrot.  All topped off with a dressing made with omega 3-rich cold pressed canola oil.   Any other suggestions?

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