Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate
Today, like many times before, I was asked whether I didn't miss bread and maybe wished I had a different type of intolerance. What kinds of questions are these!? But never mind, I always tell myself that there are things that are much much worse than coeliac disease and that I'm dealing with it pretty well. Of course, occasionally I miss baked rolls and plaited buns, of course. Sometimes on my way home, when I smell fresh bread or feel a craving coming on, I wish I could have some. On the other hand, coeliac disease got me interested in cooking and alternative grains - foods that are naturally gluten-free and that aren't a substitute but a valuable addition to my cooking, which became more creative and colourful due to those necessary alternatives. Quinoa definitely belongs in that group. Over here at my place, there is a truckload of jars filled with yellow polenta, red and white quinoa, amaranth pops, golden millet, brown buckwheat etc.
When Lisi from WOMAN TV asked me if I wanted to cook with her live on camera (the video will go on air on Friday), and suggested using a recipe that was hip, healthy and, if possible, gluten-free, I immediately thought of quinoa. Then pomegranate came to mind, which is conveniently in season at the moment. It's a challenge to create two different dishes with the same ingredient and that's what we did - one sweet and one savoury. We made some quinoa porridge and a colourful quinoa salad with pomegranate, spinach, pumpkin and lots more.
Now, pumpkin isn't really in season anymore but was still available to buy in organic food stores and at Merkur (from its Ja!Natürlich label). Pumpkin keeps forever, after all.
For the shoot, we combined it with honey, olive oil, salt and sesame seeds. For my cooking session at home, I couldn't get ahold of any pumpkin, unfortunately, but the sweet potatoes I used instead were an ideal and delicious alternative.
Pomegranates are amazing. They're exotic, make every salad pretty and brighten up dull winter days. Their extraordinary appearance also made my pictures look better: the reddish skin is a bit like leather and the flesh of the fruit contains juicy kernels.
A bit of trivia that was news to me: the city of Granada, in southern Spain, was named after this fruit!
Pomegranate has a flavour range from slightly acidic to sweet and is quite intense in aroma. The kernels are rich in vitamin C, minerals and tannins. They also have a high antioxidant content, protecting our bodies from free radicals and safeguarding our immune system.
Stored in a cool environment, pomegranates keep for up to a year.
The kernels are delicious in savoury salads but also fruit salads as well as cocktails, particularly as a punch or in champagne or sparkling wine. And they're absolutely wonderful in hearty oriental dishes.
My new salad creation is bursting with healthy ingredients. Spinach, for example, is low on calories but provides a ton of vitamins and minerals. Also present: a lot of vitamin B, beta-carotene, vitamin C and folic acid as well as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. An old saying goes: spinach can replace half a pharmacy.
I've already told you in previous posts what quinoa, pumpkin and sweet potatoes can do for your body.
And hier is the link to my quinoa porridge with coconut milk. In the wintertime, I enhance it with sliced orange, apples, bananas and sometimes pomegranate as well.
Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Baby Spinach and Pumpkin from the Oven
- 125g quinoa
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 TBSP almonds
- 1 spring onion
- ½ bunch mint or coriander
- ½ Hokkaido squash (300-400g) or 1-2 sweet potatoes
- 1 TBSP honey (vegan option: maple syrup)
- 2 TBSP sesame seeds
- optional: pinch of saffron threads
- ½ lemon
- 1 tsp sugar
- 400-500ml water (for the quinoa)
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180°C (fan) or 200°C (upper/lower). Wash and halve the pumpkin and remove the seeds with a spoon. (Or, if you're using sweet potatoes, peel them and cut them into 1cm cubes). Combine the pumpkin/sweet potatoes with their edible peel into 1cm cubes, lay out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and honey/maple syrup and season with salt and sesame seeds. Bake in the oven on the medium shelf for 25 minutes until golden.
- Wash the quinoa in a sieve under running water until it runs clear. Then bring water to a boil, add the quinoa and cook for around 20 minutes. Mix in the saffron threads.
- In the meantime, wash and finely slice the spring onion. Wash, shake dry, pick and finely chop the mint/coriander. Halve the pomegranate and remove the kernels. Squeeze the lemon. Wash and shake dry the spinach. Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl.
- Let the quinoa and the pumpkin cubes cool for a little while and mix well with the other ingredients. Prepare a marinade from olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad. Serve!