Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Recipe love: Nadia Lim’s Avocado, Pumpkin and Haloumi Quinoa Salad



If you follow my Twitter or Instagram profile, chances are that you know I’m bonkers for avocados. Years ago when there was a “shortage” in New Zealand I was travelling to Los Angeles and on arrival went straight to a market, bought three, made guacamole and scoffed the lot. True story.
I love what they do for the skin and general overall health, and just found out that another benefit of the little treats has been unearthed in a recent study. Apparently, as well as being bloody delicious and one of the most nutritionally complete foods in the world, new international research published in the Nutrition Journal shows that people who regularly eat them weigh 3.4 kilograms less on average and have waistlines around four centimetres smaller, than those who don’t. Avocado consumers also have significantly lower BMIs than non-consumers; significantly higher intakes of important nutrients (such as fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K), plus more good fats and a lower intake of added sugars.
Which brings me around to food, and this yum recipe by chef Nadia Lim that helps you get your avocado fix along with a bunch of others. It serves around four with a prep time of 20-25 minutes and a cook time of around the same, and is a feast for the tastebuds…

Roast pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon runny honey
500g peeled pumpkin, cut into 2-3cm chunks

Quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
Flesh of 2 firm ripe avocadoes, sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
6-8 medjool dates, stone removed, chopped
Handful of baby rocket or spinach leaves
¾ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 

To serve
200-250g haloumi cheese, sliced 0.5cm thick
2 grilled chicken breasts (optional), sliced

Dressing
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon liquid honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Toss pumpkin with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey in prepared tray. Roast until slightly caramelised, 20-25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Combine quinoa and stock/water (with a pinch of salt) in a medium-size pot and bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce to lowest heat to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to steam, still covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Fluff up quinoa grains with a fork and toss with roast pumpkin and remaining quinoa salad ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Heat a drizzle of oil in a fry pan on medium heat and cook haloumi slices for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown, and melted on the inside. Mix all dressing ingredients together and toss with quinoa salad.

To serve, divide quinoa salad between bowls and top with slices of cooked haloumi and grilled chicken breast if using. 

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