Yes yes, we’re getting a bit of rain in the UK, and the temperature has dropped enough for me to wear my new ‘winter’ jumper and my cosy boots, but I refuse to give in completely and abandon all hope of the t-shirt-wearing-sangria-drinking-BBQ-eating days we might still get before I start to live off stews and soups and custard covered puddings.
This gorgeous salad is one of my ways of telling myself it’s AUGUST!!
Those amazingly juicy tomatoes, the aromatic basil, the slight crunch of the cabbage, cucumber and quinoa and the creaminess of the mozzarella and broad beans. It just works.
A light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive too? Yes purrlease.
Satisfying, tasty fullness at 342 cals per serving (402 cals if you include the balsamic and oil dressing). Just give me a fork right now!
This salad is really simple to put together, with most of the ingredients needing no preparation except a quick chop. The only bit of effort goes into preparing the broad beans and cooking the quinoa.
For those of you who’ve never prepared broad beans before, it’s a little time consuming but totally worth it. I like to double-pod them – which means popping the beans out of their fur-filled pod, boiling for a couple of minutes and then popping each individual bean out of it’s creamy coloured skin to reveal the bright green little bean hiding inside. If you like a bit less fuss and don’t mind eating the slightly chewier outer skin, then you can just single pod them.
Personally I find it quite therapeutic to sit there shelling beans, it makes me feel quite homely and old-fashioned. It’s also a great job for the kids – as they can help do the prep for you without the need for knives or peelers.
If you’re anything like my carnivore of a husband (sorry Chris, you know it’s true xx), you’re probably looking at this and asking ‘where’s the meat?’ If you need it, I’d suggest the addition of something a little salty like crispy bacon or chorizo.
I’m still slowly trying to incorporate a vegetarian day and a fish day into our diet every week. I think I’ve got the fish day firmly in there now with tasty recipes like Seafood Laksa and Thai Prawns, the vegetarian one is progressing a little more slowly. With food that tastes as good as this though? I think I’m on to a winner!
- 75g dried Quinoa (276 cals)
- 1 veg stock cube or 1 tsp veg bouillon if gluten free (15 cals)
- 400g broad (fava) beans in their pods (should give you approx. 130g shelled beans) (117 cals)
- 100g or approx. 12-14 mini mozzarella balls (204cals)
- ¼ cucumber, chopped into small chunks (12 cals)
- 12 cherry tomatoes (40 cals)
- 4 leaves of raw sweetheart cabbage, sliced into ribbons (16 cals)
- Small handful of baby basil leaves (3 cals)
- Dressing (optional – Serves 2 which adds 60 extra calories per person if included):
- 2 tsp olive oil (80 cals)
- 2 tsp good balsamic vinegar (40 cals)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Cook your quinoa as per the pack instructions, but with the addition of the stock cube in the water for added flavour. Once cooked, pour the quinoa out onto a plate, fluff it up a little with a fork and leave it to cool whilst you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Put a pan containing about 500ml of water on to boil for your broad beans. Make a slit in your broad bean pods and open them up. You should see creamy looking beans nestled in what looks like pillows of fluff. Pop the beans out of the pods and place them in the boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes and then drain them and place them in a bowl of cold water. Take one of the beans and make a small slit in the skin with your fingernail. Pop out the small bright green bean inside onto a plate. It will be a little bit slimy, but this dries quickly. Repeat with the remaining beans.
- Assemble your salad by sharing the quinoa between two bowls and nestling in the mozzarella balls, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sweetheart cabbage and broad beans. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top. If using the dressing, mix the ingredients together and drizzle over the top.