Quinoa, Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad with pan-fried haloumi

I had the pleasure of enjoying this salad up in Coffs Harbour on a recent surfing/family trip! As I munched away in great company, thoroughly enjoying the various flavours, I started thinking about its health benefits:

- Quinoa contains all 8 essential amino acids (proteins that our bodies cannot make themselves), it is also high in fibre for digestive health and low GI to keep us feeling fuller for longer.

- Sweet potato is high in Vitamin A, a nutrient crucial for sustaining immunity, healthy skin and good vision

- Cinnamon has been proven to aid in balancing blood sugars

- Cabbage is an anti-inflammatory

- Lentils are pre-biotics which support a healthy gut and is also a great source of protein

- All the nuts, seeds and olive oil are high in Omega's, benefiting the heart and brain

- Pomegranate & the green herbs are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps to absorb iron and maintain strong cells

What a winner!

Ingredients:

·      1 thin sweet potato (about 350g) cut into 1 cm discs

·      2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra 5 tbsp

·      ½ tsp ground cumin

·      ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

·      Sea salt flakes & freshly ground pepper to season

·      1 cup quinoa

·      500ml chicken stock

·      ½ small red onion thinly sliced

·      400g can lentils drained & rinsed

·      2 cups finely shredded red cabbage

·      1/3 cup dried cranberries roughly chopped

·      ¼ cup pepitas

·      ¼ cup roasted almonds roughly chopped

·      Arils from a pomegranate 

·      ½ cup coriander leaves roughly chopped

·      ½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves roughly chopped

·      ½ cup mint leaves roughly chopped

·      1 tbsp red wine vinegar

·      2 tsp Dijon mustard

·      250g haloumi, thinly sliced OR you could use chicken instead, 100g cooked per person

Method:

1.     Preheat oven to 180 Celsius and line an oven tray with baking paper. Arrange sweet potato on prepared tray, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with spices, seasons then rub to coat. Roast for 20 min. or until just tender. Set aside for 10 min to cool to room temperature.

2.     Meanwhile, put quinoa in a sieve and rinse under running water. Put stock & quinoa in a medium saucepan & bring to the boil over a medium heat. Simmer for about 12 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat & spread onto an oven tray & set aside for 20 min to cool.

3.     Place onion, lentils, cabbage, cranberries, pomegranate arils, herbs, vinegar, mustard & 4 ½ tbsp of the extra oil in a bowl, tossing well to combine. Add quinoa & sweet potato tossing well. Season , then transfer to a large serving bowl /platter.

4.     Heat the remaining oil in a fry pan over medium heat.  Add haloumi & cook for 2 min on either side or until golden. Serve salad topped with hot haloumi.

 

ENJOY! :)