A complete protein and wheat-free grain, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is still in vogue. Teamed with sweet potatoes and the last of the season’s fennel, Gopi Chandran – Executive Head Chef at Sopwell House – has shared a healthy, meat-free salad recipe, created with spring finally in sight.
Deep within the Herfordshire countryside (yet only 20 minutes from St. Pancras), Sopwell House in St. Albans is an escape from the chaos of London; with a 2AA Rosette restaurant, brasserie, cocktail lounge, conservatory bar and 12 acres of gardens.
Olive oil, 4 tbsp
Sweet potato, 1 large, diced
Medium fennel bulbs, 2, cut lengthways into ¼ inch thick slices
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh lemon juice, 20ml
Ground cumin, 1½ tsp
Quinoa, 200g, rinsed
Red chilli, 1, chopped and deseeded
Fresh coriander, 10g, chopped
Fresh mint, 10g, chopped
Fresh dill, 15g, chopped
Small pomegranate, seeds from ½
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is just tender and lightly golden. Add the lemon juice, and sugar. Stir through and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and pepper and set to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Drizzle the sweet potato with olive oil, sea salt and cumin. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then set aside.
Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and 700ml water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and reduce to a low simmer for around 10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked. Drain and return to the pan. Let the quinoa sit in the pan covered for 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl.
Remove the peel and white pith from the lemon. Cut between the membranes to release the segments. Discard the membranes and roughly chop. Add the chopped lemon with its juices to the cooked quinoa along with the remaining oil and stir. Add the fennel mixture, sweet potato, chilli, and herbs. Gently incorporate and season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Further information on Sopwell House can be found here.
Header Photo: @Home.with.harper