I like to think of this salad as my 21st Century version of a rice salad. You know those terrible anaemic things with white rice and mixed veges in them with maybe a bit of chopped ham thrown in? Even the professional recipes seemed to lack any real flavour. Poor old 70’s party goers were left crying into their vermouth in the wake of this unstimulating, bland buffet offering.
This Quinoa, Pistachio and Lemon salad can be made with white rice, but I prefer it made with brown rice for the additional texture and flavour. You can substitute any grain that is your preference, in this instance I have used a gorgeous Andean Grain Medley from Ceres which is a mixture of Amaranth, Canihua and Quinoa. The colours are exotic and rich and dark and speak to the Moroccan flavours that are in this salad, but feel free to use your favourite grain whether that be rice, couscous, quinoa or anything else you like to make this easy, low fat and super healthy 21st Century version of rice salad.
I have also used cumin and tumeric in this salad in combination as an alternative to curry powder, but when I made this initial quinoa version, curry powder was the only thing I had to hand and it turned out to be just as delicious so I have stuck with it. The other nice thing to do would be to substitute preserved lemon for the lemon rind, or even add some thinly sliced preserved lemon in addition to the fresh lemon.
You can serve this salad warm or cold.
Quinoa, Pistachio and Lemon Salad Recipe
Serves: 10 as a side dish.
- 3 cups (cooked) of your favourite grain; brown rice, quinoa, couscous cooked to instructions on the packet (make sure water is salted).
- 1 onion
- ¾ C pistachio nuts – toasted.
- ¾ C raisins
- 1 – 2 teaspoons curry powder (according to taste.)
- Juice and rind of one large lemon (or 2 small).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Finely chop the onion and sauté in the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat until softened but not browned. Add the curry powder to the onion and keep on the heat to release the spicy fragrances and then add the raisins. Stir through the raisins and cook for a minute or two until they have warmed and softened. Stir this mixture through the cooked grains. Add the pistachio nuts to the same pan and stir regularly for 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Add the nuts to your grain mixture along with the juice and finely shredded rind of the lemon. Add salt to taste required. Serve immediately or leave to cool, it is just as delicious either way.