This is another lovely work lunch born of ingredients that looked great in the shops! It can be so difficult sometimes to come up with new ideas for an interesting lunch, but a trip to the greengrocers or supermarket gives me inspiration in spades. What cook could fail to be overjoyed at displays of beautiful vegetables with such varied colours and shapes! Not to mention flavours…
So here we have fennel, thinly sliced and roasted so that the thinnest bits frizzle and the thicker pieces have some chew still, but in a lovely jammy way. And radishes, raw this time, for crunch, with the leaves from the bunch wilted to stir through the quinoa. And the quinoa! With an English mint sauce dressing, it’s my favourite way yet to eat it. There’s pea shoots too for the lovely sweet flavour and freshness, so good with mint. This salad came together beautifully, it has great flavours, but just as importantly, texture.
for the salad
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 tsp olive oil
a pinch of salt
100 g quinoa, rinsed
300 ml just boiled water
radish leaves if using
8 radishes, cut into little wedges
2 large handfuls of pea shoots
for the mint sauce dressing
15 – 20 g mint leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Toss the fennel with the oil and salt and roast for around 30 minutes until the thinnest pieces are frizzled and golden brown and the thicker pieces are cooked through.
When the fennel is cooked, push it to one side of the roasting tin and add the radish leaves (if using), to the other. Pop the tray back into the oven and turn it off. The radish leaves will wilt in the residual heat, just like spinach would.
While the fennel is roasting, cook the quinoa with the water for around 15 minutes, until the little white part of the grain is released and the whole of it is tender. Drain the quinoa.
To make the mint sauce, whizz all of the ingredients in a mini blender. I use the attachment from my immersion blender. Alternatively, bash it a together in a pestle and mortar until well combined. Mix the sauce through the quinoa. It will taste quite vinegary at this stage, don’t worry, the flavour will mellow as it cools.
To assemble the salad, mix the radish leaves through the quinoa and then top with the fennel, radishes and pea shoots.