Quinoa salad recipe

Quinoa salad recipe

Quinoa is a gluten free grain which originates from the Andean region of South America. Quinoa has been called “Mother grain” or superfood because of its high protein content and favourable amino acid profile. Quinoa has become popular in the Western countries as there is growing interest in gluten free and vegetarian diets.

The following recipe is an old favorite in our family when we want to have a healthy and light lunch. You can boost the protein content of this lunch by adding crumbled goat cheese on the salad or by having some fromage blanc or yoghurt with berry sauce.

Even in Mediterranean countries good fresh basil is not available in winter. Here in Nice pistou is then used. Pistou is simply crushed basil leaves with salt in olive oil and is similar to the better known Italian pesto. In winter, the tasteless and pale tomatoes are traditionally replaced by sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil. For this recipe, try to find Italian sun dried tomatoes in olive oil because they have the best taste and consistence.

 2 servings

120 ml uncooked quinoa
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
8 black olives
1 shallot
4 sundried tomatoes, in olive oil
A handful of chopped parsley
Baby salad leaves

For the dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tsp pistou, Le Basilic du Provencal  (or pesto)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the quinoa under running water and cook for 20 minutes in 240 ml water.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Wash and dry the bell peppers. Cut them into small pieces discarding all he seeds and the inner white parts. Add to the bowl.
Peel and mince the shallot. Add to the bowl.

Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes and add to the bowl.

Remove the stones from the olives. Cut the olives into quarters and add to the bowl.

Add the chopped parsley to the bowl and mix everything.

In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, red-wine vinegar, pistou and Dijon mustard. Grind a few rounds of black pepper. Add the dressing to quinoa mixture and toss together.

Place the quinoa salad on the centre of the plates and surround with baby salad leaves.


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Aspremont to Mont Cima

Descending along the ridge from Mont Cima

The well-to-do and friendly village of Aspremont (parking at 490 m) is a good starting point for several nice day hikes. We have previously described the ascent to Mont Chauve (853m). Today’s goal is Mont Cima (878m) north of Aspremont.

In spite of the modest altitude, Mont Cima offers a splendid panorama and three viewpoint indicators, table d’orientation, to help you to locate the summits of Mercantour and Moyen Pays. The ascent to Mont Cima starts in the centre of Aspremont in front of the Mairie. The first part is GR5, Grande Randonnée 5, which connects Aspremont with Levens. Follow the GR5 trail marked with red and white signs as far as to the high-voltage power line. At this point, leave the GR5, turn left and start ascending along a narrow unmarked path up to a nearby clearing called collet de l’Eurier where you will find the signpost to Mont Cima. The well visible trail marked with yellow signs zigzags to the summit. After admiring the panorama start descending along the ridge to north. The trail soon turns northeast descending more steeply before joining GR5 again. At this point, turn right and follow the GR5 trail back to Aspremont.

Image of trail to Mont Cima
The hike was done on a gorgeous February day. The total walking time is rather short, and the elevation gain moderate. Visiting the hilltop village of Aspremont itself is warmly recommended!

Total hiking time: about 3 h.
Total ascent:         about 450m.
Map: IGN Nice Menton 3742 OT


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