food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

citrus quinoa bowl with avocado and edamameWelcome to our new favourite summer salad. Why is this our favourite? Well, it is at once creamy, crunchy, savoury, tangy, slightly bitter and ever so slightly sweet (from the corn). We love what I call ‘dimensional salads’: ones that not only have complementing textures, but also complementing flavours – and this is definitely one of those. There is even a little pop from the quinoa, which I liken – if cooked less than the packet instructs – to those crackly pop rocks candies we used to get as kids. Minus the sweetness and weird science-experiment ingredients, of course. I was inspired to make this health-giving bowl of goodness from a recipe I saw in Yotam Ottolenghi’s second book, Plenty (avocado, quinoa and broad bean salad). I have made many versions of this textural salad in the past couple of years, but this is probably my favourite. I tend to add so many vegetables that it is always bigger than the bowl I have for it. That’s a good thing, right? We ate it in last week’s long anticipated sunshine, but with a new ingredient. One of which I believe Mr Ottolenghi would approve.

citrus quinoa bowl with avocado and edamameTo this incarnation I have added homemade preserved lemons (recipe below). If you aren’t familiar with preserved lemons they are basically lemons preserved by yet more lemons, and a cascade of good salt. I’ve added in fruity-hot pink peppercorns for their flavour and indecently perky colour, as well as fresh bay leaves and green cardamom (just two pods). The lemons look almost too pretty to use, but do: using just a smidge – chopped and added to plain couscous – is nothing short of transformative. Note to self: don’t use grey salt again. Tasty, but looks like swamp water.

This extremely versatile Middle Eastern staple is also a complete doddle to make – and so much nicer than even the fancy bought stuff, which tastes a bit like bleach smells. Or maybe that’s just my bad luck. Preserved lemons add a completely different dimension to any dish: floral, and intensely citrussy but with a knowing sourness quite unlike their fresh counterpart. The only caveat to the whole affair is that they really do need steeping and maturing for at least one month before using. However, once made and matured, they more than pay back the 15 minutes spent cutting, salting and ‘putting them up’ (as my late Mimi would say).

But, as you perhaps don’t have a jar of sparkling yellow lemons awaiting this or any other recipe, please use all fresh citrus and, if you like this salad, try it again later with the preserved lemons to see which way you like it best.

As for the rest of the salad, use whatever vegetables are tender and fresh where you are, but try and keep the zingy citrus and the creamy avocado. I sometimes add asparagus to this, but since we have had asparagus nearly every day for two weeks, I’m giving it a rest. And, we often ‘garnish’ with teaspoons of ricotta, labneh (recipe soon) or goats’ cheese – a great way to have a little dairy without going overboard.

This salad bowl is a perfect meal on its own, or to go alongside grilled fish. We ate it outside in appreciative silence (appreciative of the cloudless warm day mostly), with a side order of competing bird song: blackbird, blue tits, robins and probably others, but that’s about the limit of my British bird taxonomy knowledge. You might even like to brownbag a leftover portion wrapped in a big lettuce leaf, if only to amuse the dedicated carnivores in your office 😀

What was your first ‘proper’ salad of the summer? Where did you enjoy it? Do you know any more about birds than I do?

citrus quinoa bowl with avocado and edamameQuinoa Bowl with Citrus, Avocado and Edamame

A health-giving bowl of contrasting flavours and textures makes this a favourite summer salad at food to glow. Use whatever seasonal vegetables you like but do keep in the lemons and avocado. Add crunchy toasted seeds and tangy goats’ cheese for a proper meal salad, or leave ‘naked’ and just enjoy the gorgeous vegetables and simple garlic dressing.

This Week in 2011: Kitchen-sink Spring Minestrone and Spring Green Pesto Focaccia

This Week in 2012: Ma Po Tofu; Caponata (Sicilian Vegetable Stew); Masala Chai Carrot Cake Muffins with Coconut Milk Icing –  quite a prolific week!

Miss R’s Track of the Week: Love Me Again by John Newman (Kellie’s favourite cleaning-the-house track: so high energy!)

150g (7/8 cup) quinoa
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp turmeric (optional)
200g (1 and 1/2 cups) fresh or frozen corn
200g (1 and 1/2 cups) edamame OR broad beans/fava – fresh or frozen
2 small ripe avocadoes
3 young carrots, peeled
Double handful of radishes, trimmed
1 lemon
1 quarter preserved lemon, finely chopped (optional – see below for recipe) OR another fresh lemon

Microleaves/microherbs (or salad’ thinnings’ as I have done)

2 tsp fennel seeds, dry toasted in a pan
2 tsp cumin seeds, dry toasted in a pan
2 cloves garlic, peeled
good pinch chilli flakes or hot paprika (optional)
50ml (3 tbsp + 1 tsp) good olive oil – more or less, to taste

2 tsp flaky salt or good sea salt (I like Maldon)

Optional topping (not shown) – Handful of raw seeds, like sunflower and pumpkin, dry-toasted in a hot pan then sprinkled with sriracha or sambal oelek sauce, stirred  and allowed to cool and crisp on a plate. Yum! But use your own ideas or indeed a shop-bought blend (like Food Doctor).

1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve, using your fingers to stir the grains. Pop the quinoa into a pan and start to toast over a medium flame, stirring with a wooden spatula to ensure even toasting. Do this until the quinoa starts to smell a bit nutty – about three minutes. You can skip this and go straight to the boiling but I do think toasting adds a little something nice. Pour over 300ml (scant 12 fl oz) of water and add the turmeric and peeled garlic clove. Bring to the boil, pop on the lid and let simmer for 9 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit under cover for a further five minutes; remove the lid to steam-dry. Set aside. Fish out the garlic clove if you like (I consider it a bonus to get it in my portion of salad!). It should go without saying that if you have a preferred method of cooking quinoa, just do it. Dark quinoa sometimes needs longer cooking.

2. Meanwhile, boil some water in another pan and add the corn and edamame or broad beans. When the water reaches the boil again, turn off the heat and drain. Rinse well with cold water and leave to dry in a sieve. If using broad beans, pod (shell) them, discarding the tough skins. I prefer edamame as it cuts the prep time.

3. Now take the lemon and slice off the stem and bottom ends. Standing the lemon on one end, take the knife (a sharp paring knife is perfect) and, following the lemon’s shape, slice away the yellow skin and pith underneath. If you don’t mind the membrane just chop up the peeled fruits and add them to the bowl.

Otherwise, slice segments away, sliding the knife between the thin translucent membrane and the juicy fruit inside. I find it easiest to do on a board with a channel that catches juice, or directly into the salad bowl. Squeeze the skins and membrane of their juice into the salad bowl. Also add the preserved lemon if using.

4. Peel, stone and slice the avocado. Pop the slices into the bowl with the lemons. Take the carrots and either slice in long strips with a Y-peeler, or grate; add to the bowl. Thinly slice the radishes and add to the bowl. Add in the cooked and air-dried quinoa, edamame and corn.

5. In a pestle and mortar or small mini food chopper, pound/blitz the dry ingredients for the dressing, then add in the oil. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to mix the oil and lemon with everything. Toss through most of the microleaves. Garnish with the remaining leaves and, if you like, top with toasted seeds. Blobs of creamy soft cheese (like labneh or goats’) are also welcome!

salad leaf 'thinnings'

salad leaf ‘thinnings’

Serves 3-4 very generously as a meal salad, or up to six as a hearty side salad. This is also good leftover the next day, without the avocado or dressing (add them at the time).

Preserved Lemons

8-10 unwaxed and well-scrubbed lemons (unwaxed is very important) – 4-5 juiced and 4-5 quartered, but still attached at the tip
8 heaped tbsps coarse salt – I used le Paludier ,which is a gray salt: use white though or the liquid will be muddy looking
4 or 5 freshly picked bay leaves OR 2-3 dried ones
2 tbsps pink peppercorns, lightly crushed with a pestle OR 1 tbsp black peppercorns, OR none!

2 lightly crushed green cardamom pods (optional)

Special equipment: One sterilised ‘quart’ jar

Stuff each partially quartered lemon with some of the salt and push it back to its original shape. Pop each into the sterilised jar, adding the remaining salt, the bay leaves, peppercorns and lastly the cardamom, as you go. Top up with the squeezed lemon juice, adding water if needed to just cover the lemons. Seal and store for 4-6 weeks, turning a couple of times a week if you remember. These will keep up to one year without refrigeration, but I like to keep them in the refrigerator peppercorns

Use sparingly in most any Moroccan-style dish, in salsas, dips, bean and grain dishes.

I am sending this over to Ren Behan’s Simple And In Season (a favourite of mine), as well as Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ W/ Luv Made with Love Mondays. And a new one for me to enter, Bookmarked Recipes.  Jac’s blog, Tinned Tomatoes, is always fab and family-friendly, and this is only one of a number of vegetarian round-ups and challenges to enter and ogle on her blog. Unfortunately June entry is not yet open so I need to remember to link up when it does!

Similar recipes on food to glow:

Ginger-Miso Grains and Vegetable Salad

What to do with preserved lemons: The Kitchn

Coming Soon: Labneh – an easy, tangy homemade cheese but with a food to glow twist (or two!)

quinoa bowl with avocado and edamame


65 thoughts on “Quinoa Bowl with Citrus, Avocado and Edamame

  1. jackie armstrong says:

    mmmmmmmmmm this looks lovely,bright and colorful

    1. Great to hear from you Jackie. I have just come in from reading the paper outside, with a big glass of cold green tea, to see you are the first person to comment. Thank you:D Back outside soon in case the sun goes away!

  2. This is honestly the best-looking salad I have ever seen & delicious!

    1. Wow, that is quite a compliment. I’ll take it! Thanks for letting me know

  3. ann says:

    I am waiting for an avocado to ripen, helped by a bunch of bananas, so now I know what to do when it is ready. The birds are as happy with the weather as we are. Love Max’s relaxed lifestyle!

    1. MAx is now SO hot that he is curled up in the cool, dark nest he has made in the bathroom attic cupboard. Wee scone with his double fur coat. He must be so hot today…

  4. So pretty!! What an amazing combination of color, texture, and flavors.

    1. I am glad you like it! Thanks for dropping by. I hope you get a chance to make your own version of this.

  5. Ren Behan says:

    What an amazing bowl of gorgeousness! Perfect for summer, brimming with good health and sunshine. Thank you so much for sending this across to Simple and In Season. Mr Ottolenghi would indeed approve!

    1. Thanks so much Ren. I especially love this roundup of yours. It attracts so many great ideas from all over. I am always bowled over with the entries. Thanks for the nod of approval. And see you soon! Looking forward to your contribution x

  6. I’m so impressed with this salad, Kellie – delicious combination of flavors and beautifully photographed. And you even made preserved lemons! With pink peppercorns! Love it and such a fantastic dish…

    1. Cheers, Mark. You gotta love those cheeky little pink peppercorns! I really like them crushed and coating some goats’ cheese or labneh balls.

  7. Natalie Ward says:

    That really is beautiful! The colours are gorgeous, I can see why it’s your favourite, the photos really feel like summer too, I love them. I have been watching Spring watch to polish up on my birdwatching skills 😉 and I have to say there is nothing more lovely than a British summer evening when you finally get it. Makes me homesick for crisps and pimms in a pub garden!! 🙂

    1. Mmm, Pimms! Now there’s a thought! Haven’t had one yet this year, but thanks for the reminder ;D PS I have been watching Springwatch too (I miss Kate Humble though) and trying to bone up on my bird identification. We have a few nest boxes and the birds seem to be on their second (or third?) broods. I love sitting still in the garden with a cup of coffee and watching them fly in and out of the boxes. One of life’s great privileges and pleasures.

      1. Natalie Ward says:

        Yeah where did she go? Love Michaela but miss Kate too 🙁

  8. Wow! Kellie! Something indecently healthy that I would just *love* to eat on a hot sunny day like today (or any other time really). Looks wonderful!

    1. Well, rustle up your own version Simon and let me know how it is. But be sure to get ripe avocados though – no giant green bullets allowed! Thanks for stopping by, my friend x

  9. Riquísima!

    1. Gracias!

  10. Hi Kellie, thank you for another vibrant and scrumptious recipe! I’m grain free for a few months due to ill health, so quinoa is very much on the menu. Thank you for sharing this, I hope you don’t mind if I spread the word on it via Twitter and FB xox

    1. Of course I don’t mind Liz – share this post as much as you like! I’m not on FB and I’m rubbish on Twitter (as you know!), so I am always especially grateful when others share my posts. Funnily enough quinoa is such a normal part of my cooking that I don’t now consider it a substitute for grains really. But I should flag it up as such, shouldn’t I? PS hoping you are on the mend now

      1. Thanks… am slowly recovering. Have good days and bad ones. I’m really enjoying quinoa and this recipe looks and sounds yummy. Your photograph of the peppercorns is brilliant!

      2. Don’t push yourself, my love. Ha – easier said than done.

  11. Bernice says:

    This looks fabulous for summer!!

    1. Thanks Bernice. I hope it is summer good and proper where you are to really enjoy this 🙂

  12. Sally says:

    Beautiful. Ottolenghi’s quinoa salad in his first book with red rice, pistachios and dried apricots is one of my faves. Will try this tonight. Have one last preserved lemon to use up.

    1. I have all three of his cookbooks but haven’t properly thumbed through any of them so have missed the red rice one. I will have to look that one up myself. I hope you make your version of my version of the quinoa salad – if you know what I mean! The choice in your markets will probably be greater than ours at the moment.

  13. HotDish says:

    Beautiful picture! Thanks for posting this. I’ve been making the same two quinoa salads for a couple of years now, it’s nice to see a quinoa salad using some different things (and just in time for summer!). I’m a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi’s first book, I will definitely give this a try.

    1. We have quinoa a lot – hot, room temp, cold – so inevitably I have quite a number of ways to use it. I will gradually be posting more, but I don’t want to bore everyone with a never-ending succession of quinoa recipes;D One of my first ever posts was for quinoa and smoked mackerel cakes, which are really good, if not well-photographed!

  14. This looks so beautiful, Kellie. 🙂 I want some now. 🙂

  15. Maria Tadic says:

    I love salads like this. I make them all the time – especially in the summer. I like keeping a tupperware full of pre-cooked quinoa or other grains and just toss in whatever fresh veggies i have from the market! Love the pictures!

    1. That’s a good idea, keeping pre-cooked grains around. Thanks for suggesting it. I often make more than I need to (I always make extra when cooking for my nutrition groups) but tend to keep it in the freezer. My fridge is usually stuffed to the rafters with other bits and bobs!

  16. Such gorgeous colors in this salad-they really pop! I love a good quinoa salad, and this sounds amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had preserved lemons, and since I don’t want to wait a month to try this, I’ll try with fresh lemon from my tree. I am a huge fan of “dimensional” salads too 🙂

    1. Yeah, just use more lemon – from your tree! How I miss homegrown citrus. *sigh* I tried it with pink grapefruit as well as the lemon, but it wasn’t quite right. Thanks for lovely pin comment too 😉

  17. This sounds/looks amazing!!! I’m going to have to try it out! =)

    1. Thanks Fallon, for your comment and for stopping by

  18. Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand says:

    Kellie this dish depicts sunshine in a bowl! Glorious colours and fresh tastes. Mr O never disappoints, does he? I’m sure he would be very agreeable to your amendments 🙂

    1. I doubt he would recognise it now! The only things left are the quinoa, avo, lemons and garlic! Thanks for your sweet comment – I think it is sunshine in a bowl too. At least something around here is sunny!

  19. Your photos are delicious Kellie, so full of summer colour, and I know this blog is supposed to be about the food ……but those photos in your garden are wonderful. A sprinkling of blossom makes everything look magical, and Max is looking like the cat who got the cream 🙂
    Love the idea of making preserved lemons, this is now on my to do list.

    1. Coming from you and your superior nature photography skills (& poetry/prose!), that’s high praise indeed. *Someone* in my family thought the garden images a bit twee, but now that I have your stamp of approval I may include more. Cheers, Miss Seonaid x

  20. Urvashi Roe says:

    Devoured every aspect of this post Kellie. Beautiful vibrant images and wonderful easy recipes. Thank you!

  21. laura_howtocook says:

    Oh this salad is just so beautiful but then salads are, if only more people realised. How could this taste anything but delicious. The ingredients and the photos have made me want to try it and I do have a bag of lemons in the fridge so preserved lemons it is!

  22. I’ve been slowly adding more quinoa recipes to my diet so it’s nice to have another one to add to the stash!

  23. Holy wow! I pinned this so I could find it later, what an absolutely beautiful dish, and your photography is wonderful as well!! All together lovely, thanks for sharing!!!

    1. What a lovely comment on all accounts, Thank you. I am so not a photographer or stylist but I may occasionally get lucky.

  24. Can’t wait to try such a yummy and colorful salad! Just found your blog and I already love it 🙂 Thanks for all the healthy recipes!

    1. Thanks so much for finding me, and for paying me the great compliment of a follow. I hope you enjoy noodling around in the messy Index (I am sooo not technical!). Let me know if you make anything and how it was for you. Cheers!

      1. Absolutely! Feel free to check out our blog for some healthy recipes that we love!

  25. I’m just speechless right now. This dish is truly stunning, a work of art in fact. I love the flavours in this and am just imagining how it tastes. This has to go on my “make soon” list. Gorgeous.

    I was reading your bio. I helped take care of my father when he had cancer. I managed to be able to keep him at home like he wanted till the end. So from someone who knows from personal experience how much what you do benefits others, thank you.

    1. Hi Kim. First of, I love your profile of Mark – so witty and warm. I know you must be like this in ‘real’ life as your writing exudes natural charm (oh gosh, I don’t want this to be a rhyming poem!). Secondly, thank you for your enthusiasm for the crepe. It is more straightforward than my writing conveys. Promise! And lastly, I am so sorry about your father. It is incredibly hard to see a loved one so ill and going through treatment. I am full of admiration for you looking after your father, as he wished. I was just saying to someone yesterday that a loving and supportive circle of family and friends makes an incredible difference – regardless of diagnosis and prognosis. You would be amazed and saddened at how many people effectively go through this alone. Breaks my heart. I love what I do. It’s a vocation I am proud to have. Thank you for valuing it. Now don’t go and drop too much sugar in the crepes!! (Lol)

  26. Jennifer says:

    I saw this on a 4th of July roundup and just had to pin it. I hope you’ll share your best post of the week on my Friday Flash Blog Linky Party going on ALL weekend at The Jenny Evolution.


    1. Thanks for the invite Jenny, but I’m only just seeing your comment. I think you found me via EA – great person and very generous with her links. As, it sounds like, are you 😉

  27. sophiazerg says:

    Your photos are so lovely, as are your recipes!
    Sophia 🙂

  28. Christina says:

    This recipe looks fabulous! I love the preserved lemon – such a touch of unexpected brightness and tang!

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