Saturday, 18 December 2010

Fresco quinoa salad (GF) (DF) (NF) (EF) (Vegan)

I really should not take credit for this recipe because I was inspired by the recipe I’d found on here:
I didn’t have any red wine vinegar at home to make it so I used balsamic instead and it still tasted fine but I leave it up to your discretion as to which vinegar you use.  “Red wine vinegar!  Is this really a halal blog?”  I hear you ask…. indeed it is.  You can speak to a sheikh regarding the use of wine vinegar if you want but as a lay Muslim who has looked this up, I should at least explain why I think it’s halal to use.  If you look in the Quran, Allah (swt) did not specifically forbid ‘alcohol’ but rather forbade ‘khamr’ which means intoxicants.  Intoxicants (or mind altering drugs) such as heroin, cocaine, lager, rum, wine etc are all haraam, but remember that vinegar is permitted and has been mentioned in hadith even though it is derived from alcohol.  This is because the process for making vinegar means it does not intoxicate.  Put it this way, have you ever heard of anyone getting ‘drunk’ on vinegar?  This is why I follow the opinion that it is permitted.

This recipe might look a bit like a tabbouleh or cous cous salad, but the great thing about this is that it’s suitable for diets that are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free and egg free and still tastes pretty good.  It’s a very ‘touchy feely’ recipe in that you don’t have to follow it to the letter cos’ it depends on your personal taste, add more herbs or lemon or change a few details to suit your taste if that’s what you would prefer.  I think it would be a great picnic food or side dish for a barbeque.  As it is served at room temperature, I think it would be a good dish to take as a packed lunch- yes indeed I’m all too aware how HARD it can be to find a proper convenient food to eat at lunchtime when you’re trying to avoid gluten cos’ usually it means sandwiches are off the menu, as well as about 90% of other lunch foods in the shops (wraps, pasta salads, takeaway pizza etc).  I also put leftovers in the fridge and ate that the following day so I know it keeps well- if anything, it tastes better the following day!

(serves 2)

Vegetarian (Vegan in fact)
Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Nut Free
Egg Free

1 litre water
200g quinoa
Half a (dutch) cucumber, diced
Half a red onion, diced
A third of a deseeded red pepper, diced
A small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped (leaves only)
About 10 mint leaves, chopped
60ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar
Grated zest and juice of half a lemon
Half a teaspoon, salt
Half a teaspoon, black pepper
Half a tin, chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)

- Bring the water to the boil in a large pan, then add the quinoa and let it boil for 10-12 minutes until it has softened

- Drain the quinoa using a large seive, rinse well in cold water, then set aside so that the water can drain out thoroughly to remove excess moisture (otherwise you risk ending up with a soggy mess)

- Once the quinoa is try, transfer it into a large bowl, throw in all of the other ingredients and then toss it so they all mix well together

- It can be served as it is, or as a side dish for a picnic or barbeque- alternatively spoonfuls of the mixture can be wrapped in lettuce leaves and served as an appetiser

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