It’s January, Christmas holidays are over, the last slice of Panettone has been eaten and the last bottle of Prosecco has been drunk. It feels like everyone I follow on social media is on some sort of detox, gluten-free diet or juice cleanse at the moment. Or they have joined the gym. January right?
Apart from not eating the above mentioned Panettone every day, I haven’t made changes to the way I eat. Actually I feel like I have been eating a lot of healthy meals throughout the holidays. The reason? I was working on a campaign for Merchant Gourmet, creating recipes using their “Ready To Eat” range of grains and pulses. Every day I have been busy in my kitchen testing recipes and tasting yummy dishes. One of my favourites was the Supergreen Quinoa Salad.
Merchant Gourmet are known for their range of delicious and versatile food products (vegetables, grains and pulses), great to cook with at home or to eat straight out of the pack.
This week they have launched a brand new campaign, in collaboration with chef Sophie Michell, to help inspire people to get cooking healthy meals with pulses and grains in the New Year. I was already using their products at home, so when they asked me to work on their new Eat Well, Live Well campaign, I accepted the challenge.
For over three weeks I have been creating dishes with quinoa, spelt, freekeh and lentils. I prepared so much food, I had to invite friends and family over for dinner to finish it all (always good to have an excuse to party)! I made a lot of yummy salads but also more creative dishes like lentil burgers or quinoa muffins. My recipes will be shared by Merchant Gourmet throughout January, so look out for them.
For the salad I am sharing with you today I took inspiration from Anna Jones cookbook, A Modern Way To Eat. Her “herbed green quinoa” recipe is great, so I have adapted here. Because of its vibrant colours, I have named it the Supergreen Salad! :)
I used Merchant Gourmet Red & White Quinoa, which is my favourite product in their ready to eat range. It takes just 45 seconds in the microwave to heat up with quinoa and it’s ready to use in your cooking or to add to salad and soups.
Even though quinoa is easy to cook at home, I find the “ready to eat” packets so convenient! First of all, I don’t like cooking quinoa because the grains fly out of the pan when I pour them and then stick to the colander when I drain them. I am a bit clumsy but I also hate mess, so anything that helps me keeping a tidy kitchen counter, is my friend. Also, the ready to eat quinoa is quick to make, as you can tell. When I come home at 14:00 after my yoga class I want to be able to make lunch in 5 minutes, not 20.
Most importantly, Merchant Gourmet products are free from artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. And they are suitable for vegetarians, which is great for me as I mostly cook meat-free meals for my husband.
Heat the quinoa as per packet’s instructions, transfer to a bowl, using a fork to separate the grains. Season with the lemon juice.
Boil the broccoli for 2-3 minutes, drain and place in a large salad bowl. Boil the peas for 3-4 minutes, drain and add to the bowl. Add the spinach, basil and mint.
Get a small frying pan on medium heat, add the olive oil and sliced leeks. Cook slowly for 5-10 minutes, until the leeks are soft. Add to the salad.
Toast the seeds in a pan for a minute or two, careful not to burn them (I always burn them!). Set aside to cool down.
Add the quinoa to the salad bowl, season with salt and pepper. If needed, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Top with the toasted seeds and serve.
You can add crumbled feta cheese, halloumi or mozzarella to the salad.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post in collaboration with Merchant Gourmet. All opinions are my own.