Shiitake Mushroom and Sesame Salad

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A mixture of shiitake and dried porcini mushrooms in this salad provides a rich, almost meaty flavour that gives neutral quinoa the taste boost that it needs. The result is a substantial salad with vibrant colours, an opulent sesame taste and a very useful profile of vitamins, antioxidants, iron and calcium.

Ingredients

  • 12 g/½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 175 g/6 oz/1 cup tricolour quinoa
  • 475 ml/16 fl oz/2 cups water
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 cm/1 in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red and 1 orange (bell) pepper, sliced in thin strips
  • 115 g/4 oz shiitake mushrooms, roughly torn
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • salt and ground black pepper

For the dressing

  • 5 ml/1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp Dijon mustard

To serve

  • 1 small Little Gem (Bibb) lettuce, leaves separated
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced into thin strips

Method

  1. Bring the porcini mushrooms, quinoa and water to the boil in a medium pan, lower the heat and simmer for 12-14 minutes. Drain, discarding any excess water, and set aside to cool.
  2. In another pan, heat the sesame oil, add the garlic, ginger and peppers and stir-fry until the peppers are softened.
  3. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are lightly browned.
  4. Dry roast the sesame seeds in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes, until they are just browned and fragrant, regularly turning to prevent them from burning.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa and porcini mushrooms, the pepper and mushroom mixture and the toasted seeds. Leave to cool.
  6. Make the dressing by shaking the ingredients together in a sealed container, or whisking in a small bowl.
  7. Pour the dressing over the cooled salad. Serve in bowls lined with lettuce leaves accompanied by wedges of crisp, salted cucumber.

Variation

To serve the salad warm, add the dressing to the warm quinoa and vegetables after step 3 and serve with meaty sausages, if you like.

Nutritional Information: Gluten free Energy 287kcal/1203kJ; Protein 10g; Carbohydrate 36g, of which sugars 8g; Fat 13g, of which saturates 2g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 113mg; Fibre 6g; Sodium 51mg.