Sunday, 25 February 2007

Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Sultanas and Almonds

Having started a new job last week, I'm now in the unenviable position of dreaming up lunchboxes; a slightly more interesting task since going gluten free. Gone are the days of the sandwich and instead, I've been having fun experimenting with alternative lunchbox meals. Amongst other things, last week I tried various salads (the easiest being simple leaves topped with grated cheese, sliced ham, sundried tomatoes and pinenuts, topped with my own balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey dressing (see below), and I also tried Quinoa for the first time.

Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah'), is very high in manganese, and also has relatively high levels of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. Most importantly however, is that it contains a complete set of the amino acids that your body requires to build proteins. When cooked, it has a fluffy texture with a slightly nutty flavour which is useful in both savoury and sweet dishes.

Having roasted a chicken last weekend, I made a chicken stock with the bones and used it to make this really simple quinoa salad.

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Chicken Stock
Shredded Chicken (as much as you like / have)
1 handful Sultanas / grapes chopped in half
1 handful Flaked Almonds
Spring Onions

3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (I use Aspall's Apple Balsamic Vinegar)
6 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Honey
1 tsp Wholegrain Mustard

Does enough for 2 / 3 lunchboxes

1) Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain.

2) Bring the chicken stock to the boil and stir in the quinoa and chicken. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until quinoa is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and let cool.

3) Stir in the almonds and sultanas / grapes.

4) Combine the dressing ingredients well and stir into the salad just before serving. Garnish with spring onions.