Fennel, Quinoa & Broad Bean Summer Salad

If you’re looking for the perfect summer salad then you’re in luck, this beautiful bowl of rainbow goodness is seriously the best thing around. The light, fluffy quinoa grains blend perfectly with chunks of creamy avocado, slithers of tangy fennel, crunchy bites of red pepper, soft shelled broad beans and juicy kernels of corn to create the perfect mirage of flavours and textures, which are brought together by drizzlings of fresh lemon juice, dried thyme, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. It’s just amazing! I’ve been eating it a lot for the past few weeks, serving it on its own – which is amazing – or with delicious green salads filled with kale, chard and zucchini from the garden and sides of guacamole. However you eat it I can guarantee that you’ll love it, as will all of your guests! It’s perfectly light, outrageously flavoursome and beautifully healthy.

You may have noticed that I am a huge quinoa fan, I eat it almost everyday, which is awesome as not only is this amazing grain insanely delicious with an awesomely subtle nutty flavour, it’s also one of the healthiest foods around and king of the grains! Did you know that quinoa is the only grain that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and therefore equal to all meat and dairy? It also contains almost twice as much fibre as most other grains, which aids effective digestion and keeps you fuller for longer, while also helping to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. On top of all of this quinoa is an amazing source of vitamins and minerals, especially iron, magnesium, manganese, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, mostly in the form of oleic acid, which improves the digestive tracts ability to absorb nutrients, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. So if you’re not already in love with this amazing grain then maybe it’s time to start loving it!

Serves 2

– 1/2 a cup of quinoa (100g)

– 1 avocado

– 1 fennel

– 1 sweet red bell pepper

– 1/2 a cup of sweet corn (90g)

– a dozen broad bean pods (fava beans) (or 150g frozen broad beans)

– 1 lemon

– 1 lime

– 1 teaspoon of dried thyme

– apple cider vinegar

– extra virgin olive oil

Optional – a handful of pomegranates and pumpkin seeds

A few hours before you make this dish cut the fennel into thin strips, place these in a bowl with the juice of the squeezed lime, salt and two tablespoons of olive oil. Keep the bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. This process softens the fennel while also decreasing its aniseed flavour by allowing it to soak up the tangy lime and gentle olive oil flavours.

Once you’re ready to eat cook the quinoa. Simply place the grain in a sauce pan and fill with 2 cups of boiling water, a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar. Then allow it to boil for 12-15 minutes until the grains are soft and delicious but not too gluey and stuck together. You may need to add more water to the pan as it cooks, so keep an eye on it.

While the quinoa cooks cut the red pepper, remove the seedy inside and then slice into thin cubes. Place these in a bowl. Next cut the avocado into cubes, discarding the skin and the stone. Add the avocado to the red pepper and pour in the sweet corn.

For the beans you need to shell them, remove the beans and place these in a steamer for five minutes. Then pop the beans out of their skin and add them to the pepper, avocado and corn.

Squeeze the lemon and pour this over the vegetables along with a sprinkling of apple cider vinegar, the thyme and salt. Once the quinoa is cooked and has cooled for a few minutes add it to the bowl along with the fennel – I like to add the olive oil, lime juice mixture that sits at the bottom of the fennel bowl to the salad for extra flavour. Mix everything together, add the pomegranates and/or pumpkin seeds if you’ve chosen to include them and then serve, eat and enjoy!