Moroccan quinoa salad with pumpkin seed pesto

I love to see what's new in cafés and coffee shops and I follow some on Instagram for new ideas and innovations which I try to recreate at home. My latest was after a trip to an American coffee shop where the images of a salad had me drooling but in reality the pre-packaged salad didn't look so inviting, so I decided to create my own when I got home.

I'm not the biggest quinoa fan as I always find it a bit bland, but after reading that Fearne Cotton cooks hers in stock I thought I'd try that out here and it’s much nicer.

Moroccan Quinoa & Veggie Salad

  • 1 cup of quinoa cooked in 2 cups stock
  • 2 cups of pre-cooked green lentils
  • handful of spinach or kale
  • 2 carrots - cut into large cubes
  • 1 courgette - cut into large cubes
  • 2 tsp Ras el Hanout  - a Moroccan mixed spice available in most supermarkets
  • Homemade pesto to drizzle - see recipe below
  • Homemade hummus (or shop brought ;) shh! 
  • Homemade falafel (or not ;)
  • Coconut oil to cook
  • Coriander and pumpkin seeds to serve
  1. Cook quinoa in stock
  2. Put cooked lentils and quinoa in a bowl and mix in 1 tsp of Ras el Hanout
  3. Peel and cut carrots and cut courgettes into similar size cubes
  4. Lightly steam carrots so they are still very al dente
  5. In a frying pan place courgette and cooked carrot with 1 tsp of Ras el Hanout. Cook in a little coconut oil until slightly brown.
  6. Add spinach or kale and wilt
  7. Add hot ingredients to the grains and mix. Add some torn coriander and sprinkling of pumpkin seeds
  8. Serve with hummus, falafel and a drizzle of pesto. Delicious!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

I love my nutri bullet for veg smoothies but it’s great for other uses too! This pesto is cheaper than traditional pesto as I use pumpkin seeds rather than pine nuts and no parmesan!

  • A good handful of basil
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • A good glug or two of olive oil
  • A drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  1. Put basil, garlic, seeds and olive oil into a blender or nutri bullet with a milling blade and blend. If it’s not combining well add more oil.
  2. Add a little balsamic vinegar to taste. It is slightly more bitter than brought pesto due to the seeds, but still yummy and loads better for you. 

I love pesto stirred though homemade minestrone soup, drizzled on salads or used to combine ingredients for stuffed mushrooms. I love to stuff my mushrooms with cooked chicken, feta and basil. Mix with pumpkin seed pesto and use ground almonds and mushroom stalks to bind it all together, then cook in the oven till golden.