This beautiful and bright lunch is the latest in my gluten and grain free Lunch To Go series (see under main meals for more) .Easy to prepare in advance and then throw together for a delicious and nutritious portable lunch or picnic.
The fennel in the slaw gives it a fabulous sweet undertone without being too overpowering, which really takes this slaw to a different level.
I have blogged about the many wonders of quinoa in my Green Warrior Salad and see the good stuff below. Black Organic Quinoa is slightly crunchier and nuttier in taste than its regular white sister and it’s striking colour make it all together a different eating experience. Well worth seeking out.
This time of year Asparagus is bountiful and in season. Where possible I like to eat food that has been grown locally and in season. I always look forward to Asparagus. A fabulous and versatile veggie which can elevate a simple poached to egg to something exquisite.
Making your own lunch like this will taste so much better than anything you can buy pre-pared and will be much better for you and your wallet. This salad is also packed full of vitamins, anti-inflammatory nutrients and anti-oxidants, (see the good stuff below). So it’s a win, win, win. Enjoy this lovely Lunch To Go where ever it takes you!
makes 4 lunches
Black Quinoa Salad
- 1 x cup of black organic quinoa
- 100g feta cheese
- Maldon or alternative sea salt and pepper to season
Chai Fennel Slaw
- 3 x medium sized carrots (preferably organic), peeled
- 1 small, peeled fennel bulb (preferably organic) with stalks cut off
- 2 x peeled, small red onions (preferably organic)
- 1/4 of large white cabbage (preferably organic), top leaves peeled and base cut off
- 1 x table spoon white wine vinegar
- 2 x table spoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 cups of organic goats yoghurt (I use St Helens)
- 1 x garlic clove grated
- 1 x tablespoon of chia seeds
- 1 x good pinch of maldon sea salt
- 8 x asparagus spears, with the woody bottom ends broken off (bend until they naturally snap at the bottom)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 x teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 x pinch of maldon sea salt
Black Quinoa Salad
- Do not cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions! For some reason this never works. I find the best way is to always rinse the quinoa and then cook in equal parts quinoa to water, so in this instance one cup of water. Bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for 10-12 mins.
- Cover with a tea towel or cloth for 5 mins before fluffing up with a fork.
- Add the feta cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chai Fennel Slaw
- Finely chop into strips, or cut up in a food processor the red onion, cabbage carrot and fennel
- Whisk together, the yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, white wine vinegar, chia seeds and salt
- Dress the chopped veg in the whisked sauce and season with any additional salt and pepper to taste (if required).
- Bring a pan of water to a rising boil. Add the asparagus spears, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 mins.
- Plunge the spears in to a separate pan of ice cold water or quickly rinse under cold water.
- Whisk the extra virgin olive and lemon juice together with a pinch of maldon seas salt and dress the asparagus.
Notes: These salads will keep well covered in a fridge for up to 3 days.
The Good Stuff
Black Quinoa a complete source of protein and a great source of anti-inflammatory, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Known to reduce unhealthy LDL cholesterol (that can lead to hardened of the arteries) and is full of antioxidants. Helping to protect against free radical damage, naturally gluten-free its easy to digest strengthens connective tissues.
Fennel a great source of vitamin C, fibre potassium, a range of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory oils. It is great for reliving stomach bloating, cramps and encouraging healthy digestion and is also a gentle hormone regulator.
Cabbage who would think the humble cabbage is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins C, U and K, with a high sulphur and fibre content. All of which help clear the blood, boost the skin, heal ulcers, promote healthy gut, and support the liver.
Carrots rich in beta-caroten, which helps the body make vitamin A, antioxidants, fibre, calcium, Lutein and lycopene. Carrots help maintain good vision, aid digestion, help lower cholesterol, and can help prevent some cancers.
Chia Seeds high in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, iron, folate and soluble fibre. Chia seeds help promote a healthy heart, strong bones and teeth and a healthy gut.
Asparagus is packed full of antioxidants, rutin and glutahione, inulin a (prebiotic), and is a great source of B Vitamins, especially folate. It has great detoxifying properties, removing energy draining toxins, helps strengthen the immune system, helps maintain a healthy heart, supports the gut, and is anti-infammatory protecting cells against stress from free radicals.