This week’s recipe for Toasted Quinoa with Coriander, Lime and Crunchy Pumpkin comes from chef Greg Malouf and food writer Lucy Malouf, authors of the cookbook New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian, their seventh. I was very attracted to this recipe not only because summer is the best time to enjoy wonderful tomatoes, basil, and summer squash, but because it is super quick to pull together, travels well, and can be served at room temperature without losing any flavor. Like the farro salad we had on this column a few weeks ago, this can serve as inspiration for combining your own flavors and ingredients. Perfect for summer when your garden is giving you lots of choices! —Kristina
Why Lucy loves this recipe: There are so many reasons to love this summery salad, not least because it makes a delicious, gluten-free change from the ubiquitous tabbouleh! These days, most of us know that quinoa is a brilliant “superfood,” with high levels of protein, fiber, iron and other essential elements, but it’s also quick and easy to prepare and wonderfully versatile. I also love it for its pretty, pearly sheen. Here, it makes a terrific base to a salad, which is also chock-full of vital, palate-enlivening fresh herbs as well as spicy, citrus flavors from the lime-sumac dressing. Greg and I were so pleased to discover that fried shredded pumpkin (squash) works like fried onions to provide a sweet crunch to the salad and makes a lovely counterpoint to the tangy dressing. It’s best to use a firm squash, like a butternut.
Photography by Alan Benson
Toasted Quinoa with Coriander, Lime and Crunchy Pumpkin
This is a more robust dish than the Cucumber, Quinoa & Tarragon-Yogurt salad on page 178 and, as such, we think the quinoa benefits from a light toasting before cooking, to bring out its nutty flavor.
It is rather common to use fried onion as a crunchy garnish for Middle Eastern dishes and we’ve recently started applying the same treatment to shredded pumpkin (squash), which also has a sweet base note. It works brilliantly! Serve this dish, which is full of spicy, tangy flavours, warm or at room temperature.
– 100 g (3 ½ oz – rounded half cup) quinoa
– 350 ml (12 fl oz) vegetable stock or water
– 150 g (5 ½ oz – 2/3 cup) peeled pumpkin (squash), grated
– 250 ml (9 fl oz) vegetable oil
– ½ teaspoon ground cumin
– ½ teaspoon sea salt
– 3 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and finely diced
– 4 vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, diced
– 1 ½ cups coriander (cilantro) leaves, shredded
– ¼ cup purple basil leaves (or use ordinary basil)
– 1 teaspoon Turkish red chilli flakes
– juice of ½ lime
– 30 ml (1 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon sumac
– ½ teaspoon ground cumin
– salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a small saucepan and dry-fry the quinoa for 2–3 minutes, stirring to ensure it colors evenly. Add the stock or water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 12 minutes – it will bubble vigorously and then settle down. Then tip into a sieve and set aside.
Put the grated pumpkin in a tea towel and squeeze to extract as much moisture as you can.
Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan until it starts to shimmer. Add the pumpkin to the oil and cook for 4–5 minutes over a medium heat, moving it constantly in the oil to ensure it colors evenly. You may need to do this in batches. Drain in a sieve and then on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with cumin and salt and set aside.
To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
Tip the quinoa into a serving bowl and toss through the spring onions, tomatoes, coriander and chilli flakes. Add the dressing and stir well. Top with the fried pumpkin and serve straight away.
About Greg and Lucy: Acclaimed chef, Greg Malouf, along with writing partner Lucy Malouf, has produced six award-winning cookbooks. In 2012 Greg took over the reins at the iconic Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, where his Middle Eastern take on seasonal dining helped retain the restaurant’s Michelin star. Greg is now based in Dubai where he opened another restaurant in 2014. Lucy has collaborated with some of the best-known chefs on cookbooks and projects and is regarded as one of the most experienced food editors in the publishing industry.
Reprinted with permission: NEW FEAST: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Greg & Lucy Malouf (Hardie Grant), Photography: Alan Benson