Sunday, 18 August 2013

brilliant beans

So I didn't think I liked broad beans. Oh, how wrong I was!

My memories from eating them when I was younger were that they were huge, had an odd, tough texture and didn't really taste of much. Well, thank you Local Greens for making me change my ways.

These gorgeous things were so fresh, succulent, full of flavour - and the most brilliant bright green. You really could taste their freshness and didn't need to do much to get the best out of them.

What I did do with them though, was inspired by that high street classic we all know and love; good old Marks & Spencer. They do a delicious salad with broad beans, feta, quinoa and all sorts of other goodies in it. I have been tempted by it for lunch a few times, but as it weighs in at an outrageous £4 something, I have instead picked myself up off the floor and gone for the boring but economic egg or Ploughmans instead.

I do try though to take my lunch to work most days, so decided to use our broad bean beauties to make my own version of this- in your face M&S!

This salad was perfect for all that glorious hot weather we had-like summer on a plate. It's basically all of my favourite things in one dish, and very quick to make.

I was lucky enough to have to go some training near Borough market that week, so of course I had to stop by to check out what was on offer. I managed to restrain myself and not buy too much, but did leave with some super tasty avocados that were a great addition to this dish.

I also want to tell you about my seed mix (I know, you've been dying to know, right?). You may see these guys pop up quite a bit in my cooking, as I can't get enough of the stuff! Seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein and all sorts of important vitamins and minerals. Plus, I find they add a wonderful crunch to salads. I buy a pre-mixed pack from Holland & Barratt called 'Salad Sprinkle' which has pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Yum! I also use a milled seed mix for smoothies and breakfast, but more on that another time. To the recipe!

broad bean, avocado and feta quinoa
Serves 2

50g quinoa
about 6-8 broad bean pods
2 spring onions, finely shopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
handful of mint, finely chopped
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 avocado, cut into chunks
big chunk of feta
mix of seeds 

Cook quinoa in boiling water (I add a pinch of vegetarian stock powder-Boullion is best) for 10-15 mins.

To save on time and washing up, I add the pods to the quinoa pan about 2 mins before it is done. Once cooked, drain the pan and run the whole lot under cold water. Pop the beans out of their pods and throw the quinoa and beans into a large serving bowl.

Add the cucumber, spring onions and mint, drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil, and mix well. Season with black pepper.

Finally, add the avocado, crumbled feta and a sprinkle of seeds. Garnish with extra mint.

(No photo I'm afraid; it got gobbled up too quickly. But I'll remember next time so watch this space...)

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