With my corporate caterer hat on, I am always devising new salads for lunch deliveries as my regular clients appreciate variety.  As a chef I need to keep innovating, because I am adding value with (and selling) my skill and experience.

This combination of colours, textures and flavours was a big hit and became known as The Famous Quinoa Salad. It’s also vegan, wheat and dairy free.

Ingredients

(Serves 6 with leftovers)

200g quinoa
100g green beans
100g flaked almonds
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1 garlic clove, grated
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Put the quinoa in a saucepan, add plenty of water to cover and a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the grains have swollen and absorbed most of the water. Drain and cover while it cools, to allow the quinoa to steam so the grains separate. It should be soft to the bite but not gluey.
Next, top and tail and finely slice the green beans in rounds. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and simmer the sliced beans for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water to keep the colour.
Heat the oven to 160C and toast the flaked almonds for 10 minutes on a baking tray until golden (you can do this in a frying pan but watch they don’t burn!).
Finally, make the dressing that will bring the whole thing together.
Grate the garlic clove in to a jug, add the chopped parsely, lemon juice and olive oil and whisk to combine. Season to taste – the dressing should be salty, to season the other, unseasoned ingredients.
In a big bowl, toss together the quinoa, nuts, beans and dressing. This will hold for a couple of days in a sealed container in the fridge – it’s great for lunchboxes, as a healthy side dish with chicken or fish, and of course for a midnight snack.