Spaghetti squash and quinoa salad

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    6–8

    as a first course
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

As I mentioned in my recent book Salads, quinoa is an ancient Inca grain – very nutritious, with a lovely nutty taste and texture. Spaghetti squashes are interesting vegetables because they have a really unusual texture when cooked and they lack a pronounced flavour. This salad is also lovely served as a canapé, wrapped up in grilled thin slices of aubergine, like little sausage rolls, or alongside a fish or white meat dish. If you can’t get the squash, then cut butternut squash or pumpkin into small dice and steam or roast them, or try it made with finely julienned kohlrabi or jicama (yam bean).

Ingredients

  • ½ spaghetti squash, around 600–700g (keep the seeds intact as it holds together better while cooking)
  • flaky salt
  • 100 g quinoa
  • handful of parsley leaves
  • handful of mint leaves, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Place the squash in a pot large enough to hold it comfortably (it may be easier if you cut it across in half). Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then add 2 tablespoons of flaky salt and cook until it’s done. It’s ready when you can just insert a knife through the skin into the seed cavity. Remove from the pot and place in a colander, cavity side facing down, to drain.

Tip the quinoa into a fine sieve and rinse really well under warm running water for 30 seconds (the grain has a bitter natural coating). Bring 1 litre of water to the boil, add the quinoa and cook until done. The grains will begin to unfurl a little. They’ll remain crunchy, but you don’t want them underdone; it will take between 10 and 18 minutes. Drain them in a fine sieve and leave to cool.

With a spoon, scoop the seeds and their fibres from the squash and discard, then, using the same spoon, scrape the flesh out, running the spoon just beneath the surface to get the fibres out. Remove all of the fleshy fibres and place in a large bowl.

To Serve

Simply add the quinoa and the remaining ingredients to the squash and gently, but thoroughly, toss it all together, seasoning to taste.