lentil, quinoa + greens salad w lime + mustard dressing

lentil + greens salad w lime + mustard dressing

enormous pot of mint

It’s no secret that I don’t have the greatest green-thumb. In fact, I have a pretty great track record of killing plants. Combine that with the fact that we have a resident possum that loves anything green and leafy, and it makes it a little difficult to grow anything super delicious. But, I’m making progress I think – so far, the rosemary, chives, lemon balm and mint are all still standing. And oh my, the mint. I have so. damn. much. of it. It’s never-ending.

But really, this isn’t a post totally about mint, it’s about this salad. Because as much as I love mint on its own, mint does really special things when it’s combined with parsley and lentils and a delectable dressing.

I made this salad on the weekend for the very fancy Hannah’s birthday get-together. I wanted a salad that was sturdy, that likes (nay, LOVES) dressing, that was filling, and wasn’t going to look like it had been sitting in a hot room (you know, that sort of wilted and sad look lettuce gets if it’s been in contact with dressing for more than 10 seconds?). And I think this one fits the bill (not to mention that it’s completely allergen-friendly!). That being said, if you wanted it would be delicious with some baked tofu, or roasted pumpkin, or sourdough along side it, if you so desired.

Lastly, can we just pause on the realisation that it’s December? Where in the world did this year go, sheesh. When I think back on all that’s happened this year, and all that I’ve managed to achieve, it truly, really, boggles my mind. Finally, though, work has basically wound up for the year – only two meetings this week and then I’m on holidays! – And I’m also now allowing myself to get excited for Christmas – last night we decorated, and I’m stoked to get into some serious Christmas cooking. Which reminds me – what would be at your ideal Christmas meal? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment below.

With big, relieved, almost-on-holidays hugs, H x

fennel heart
preparing the salad
mint 1
lime + mustard dressing
lentil, quinoa + greens salad

lentil, quinoa + greens salad w lime + mustard dressing
serves 4-6
recipe notes

  • Of course, feel free to substitute regular quinoa (or what about millet? or wild rice?) instead of the red quinoa if you prefer.</em?
  • If you like, adding some wholegrain mustard to the dressing would also be a stellar idea.
  • I’ve given the cooked measurements for both the lentils and quinoa – my advice is to make a big pot of both: use some for this salad, then sequester the rest away in your fridge for easy meals the next few days.

for the salad

  • 1.5 c cooked French lentils
  • 0.5 c cooked chickpeas
  • 1.5 c cooked red quinoa
  • a generous handful of mint, chopped
  • a generous handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 c pepitas, toasted
  • 1/2 bulb of fennel, tops removed, fronds chopped and bulb thinly sliced
  • 1 spring (green) onion, thinly sliced

for the dressing

  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dry English mustard
  • sea salt and pepper

Start by preparing the vegetables for the salad, chop and slice away. In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients and gently toss. Prepare the dressing by combining the juice, zest, oil and mustard in a glass jar, securing with a lid and shaking vigorously to combine. (Alternatively you could whisk everything in a small bowl.) Taste the dressing, and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper to your liking. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again to coat thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator until serving.

moroccan quinoa stuffed pumpkin

IMG_1529Apologies for the iPhone photos with this post – I wasn’t going to write it up, but a friend saw my instagram photos and asked me for the recipe. So iPhone photos it is!

IMG_1527As soon as our German instructor, Jana, gave us this little pumpkin (homegrown by her father-in-law!) I knew what I wanted to do: stuff it. And then roast it. And then destroy it, with my mouth. It was the perfect lunch for a drizzly and cool Saturday. We had it as is, but a green salad wouldn’t hurt the arrangement at all.

It’s been very hectic here lately – I’m sorry if I haven’t posted for a while – I had my bridal shower last weekend, we’re going to Sydney next weekend, and the wedding is only 8 weeks away! (And did I mention that massive deadline I have at uni?) But, I’ve been feeling really inspired in the kitchen lately, so hopefully I’ll have some more recipes (and better photos, I promise!) to share with you soon.

IMG_1534

Recipe notes:

  • I used quinoa as the stuffing, but you could also use brown rice, or if you’re able to eat it, cous cous. Make more of the grain than you think you’ll need, because it would be better to have left over stuffing that you can’t stuff into your pumpkin, than not enough stuffing at all. The amount of quinoa I give below was the amount I estimated given the cavity I excavated in my pumpkin. Judge your pumpkin for yourselves.
  • I went for a middle-eastern/Moroccan flavoured stuffing, but you could take this in SO many directions. Sundried tomato, basil and olive, anyone? Or how about coriander and lime? Or za’atar instead of dukkah? Or pine nuts or pepitas instead of sunflower seeds – you see where I’m going, I know.
  • Don’t be tempted to take the pumpkin out of the oven until you’re 100% convinced it’s done, uncooked pumpkin is no fun!

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Pumpkin

serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

  • 1 small pumpkin – I used a jap – approximately 500-600 g
  • 1 cup (150 g) cooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp dried currants
  • 1 tbsp dukkah
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
  • sea salt, to taste
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (make sure there’s no fan on).
  2. Using a small, sharp knife, cut around the stem of the pumpkin. Remove the pumpkin ‘hat’ (as Adam calls it), and set aside.
  3. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds from inside the pumpkin.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the quinoa with the remaining ingredients (except for the lemon) and season with salt to taste.
  5. Spoon the filling into the pumpkin, pressing down firmly as you go (this is important! you want a well-packed pumpkin). Place the pumpkin’s hat back on.
  6. Place the stuffed pumpkin on a baking tray, and place in the oven. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, it will take 1.5 – 2 hours for your pumpkin to cook. Check after the 1.5 hr mark by inserting a cake tester through the skin, if you encounter no resistance after you’ve pierced the skin, your pumpkin is probably done. At this point, I’d give it another 10-15 minutes, just to be sure.
  7. Remove from oven, and let sit for 5-10 minutes (it will be super hot on the inside!). Remove the hat, and slice in half with a sharp knife. Serve with lemon wedges and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!