One of my many mottos in life is to never arrive empty handed. Whether it be flowers, wine or some kind of baked treat, I like to arrive places having made an effort. A psychologist would probably say it had something to do with a desire to be liked, but I can tell you quite definitely that isn’t high on my list of essentials. I just really like to cook.
This weekend over on Instagram I posted an image of my addition to a ‘low-key’ BBQ. The first thing you should know about me is that ‘low-key’ doesn’t really wash with me. The story resulted in so many messages asking for the recipe I decided to apply some quantities to it and write it up here. The recipe is a great vegan or vegetarian option for a BBQ and can be made ahead, making things much easier. Enjoy.
For the quinoa
300g quinoa (soaked in cold water overnight)
Vegetable stockpot or cube
For the dressing
4 tablespoons tahini
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper
Juice of half a lemon
For the salad
1 butternut squash
Salt & pepper
1 small tin of sweetcorn
80g kale – tough stalks removed
Cooking the perfect quinoa:
Soak your quinoa (in a jug to make it easy to pour into a sieve later) in cold water overnight.
Before using it, pour out the water and rinse it thoroughly under the cold tap. In a small pan mix freshly boiled water with a vegetable stock cube/pot, add the quinoa with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for around 10-12 minutes. Soaking the quinoa reduces the cooking time needed so keep checking on it, it should be unravelling into spirals but still have some bite when you taste it, it shouldn’t be mushy.
When it’s done, tip out of the water and then leave in the pan, with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper draped over the top before placing the lid on. Pop to one side to cool.
For the salad:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (175 fan).
Slice your butternut squash into 1cm rounds, removing the seeds as you get to the bulbous part. Slice each in half to make half moons, leaving the skin on. When the rounds are thin this easily cooks and adds some texture.
In a bowl toss them with olive oil and seasoning before spreading out on a baking tray. Spread them out as much as possible to allow them to roast. Pop in the Center of the oven and roast for twenty minutes. In the bowl you used to toss the squash add the kale and do exactly the same, lightly coating the kale in any remaining olive oil and seasoning, strewn about the roasting tray with the squash and return to the oven for five minutes.
Watch carefully as the kale can so easily burn, you want it crispy, almost like a crisp or seaweed. When it’s ready remove and leave to cool.
Tip the drained tin of sweetcorn into a preheated griddle pan. You shouldn’t need any oil. You want the corn to begin to blacken and Char at the edges, so keep shuffling around in the pan before leaving to one side when done.
For the dressing:
Add the tahini, crushed garlic, seasoning, oil, juice of a lemon and water to a bowl and mix together. Add more water and mix thoroughly until your dressing is pourable. If it looks like it’s curdled just add more water and keep mixing.
To serve fork through the quinoa and pile onto your serving plate, strew with squash, kale, and charred sweetcorn before drizzling the dressing over liberally. Finally add the pomegranate seeds and dig in.