Quinoa Prawn Salad

Not surprisingly, January is flying by. It’s as if the hub-bub of the holidays gets us into this crazy mental zone of go-go-go! that frankly, it is hard to stop. By now many of us have deserted our New Years’ resolutions, or decided not to make any. Despite the astonishing pace of Januaries, they can certainly lack momentum. Perhaps the Holiday Hangover is to blame? I always struggle with the concept of the ‘resolution’. Maybe I’m stubborn. Maybe I’m lazy. Either way, things seem to happen in their own time any way, so why get fussed about January 1st?

We’re now less than a month from Valentine’s Day. I don’t care what you may say about Valentine’s Day – I love it. I’m a sucker for love, what can I say?! I love the surge of pink and red everything and the profusion of hearts. I love its silliness, whether or not its a consumerist cash grab, I also love that it’s a day to stop, consider love, and celebrate it. Keep your eyes peeled for a treat or 2 in honour of the sweetest holiday on the calendar in the next couple weeks.

Another exciting circle on my calendar that is sneaking right up before Valentine’s is the 3rd anniversary of this blog! Craziness! Hard to believe. When it all began I had no idea I’d manage to keep it going this long, but I’m so glad I did. I guess this means I should come up with an anniversary post and/or recipe … add that to the to-do list.

In other news, I’ve been asked to write a couple articles for a local cookshop re: my collection of Fiestaware. If you’re unaware of its existence, Google image it and bask in its beautiful, brightly coloured simplicity. I positively love it and part of the article will involve me counting how much of it I have … that should be interesting. I can’t help it, I love dishes – not a weird thing when you consider how much I love to cook. On that note, I’ll also be working with a local letterpress artist on some recipe cards, including a complimentary recipe from FFAS. It’s going to be a very cool collaboration and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.

So what does this have to do with Quinoa and Prawn Salad? Time. January, like the rest of life, doesn’t afford us much time. To do what we want to do we need adequate fuel, sometimes with very little effort. I know you’re as busy as anyone, and if you’re like me, when you’re busy you can easily fall into a rut where it’s ‘too much work’ to make dinner or pack a wholesome lunch. This salad packs a nutritional punch, tastes great and won’t slow you down. Whip up this salad, pack up your leftovers for lunch, take a deep breath and press on. Enjoy.

Quinoa Prawn Salad

Serves 6

1 C quinoa

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 C chicken stock

4 C fresh spinach

1/2 C (loosely packed) flat leaf parsley

6 green onions

1/2 cup (loosely packed) basil leaves

2 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 large mango, peeled, pitted and chopped into 1/2″ cubes

2 bell peppers (any colour), seeded, chopped

1 lb raw prawns, peeled and de-veined

1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning

4 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese

3 avocados, peeled, seeded and cut into quarters

1 lime

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and curry powder until the spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the quinoa and stir, toasting it, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to maximum. Once it begins to boil, cover tightly and reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for 20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender and fluffy.

While the quinoa cooks, combine most of the spinach (hold back a handful of leaves), green onions, basil and parsley in a food processor. Blitz until finely chopped. Set aside.

Chop and prepare the peppers, tomatoes, avocado and mango, set aside.

When the quinoa is cooked, toss it with the spinach mix and allow to cool by spreading out on a cookie sheet or shallow bowl.

Prepare the shrimp by sprinkling with Old Bay. Cook them briefly (about 2 minutes) in a very hot, dry pan until they are firm and opaque. Try not to over cook them!

Toss the quinoa with the reserved spinach, mango, tomatoes and peppers in a large serving bowl. Top with the prawns and feta cheese. Squeeze a fresh lime over the salad if desired. Serve immediately.

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