Recipe: Quinoa & Golden Potato Salad with Fresh Tomato, Mint & Pine Nut Salsa

This recipe is the perfect spring salad - quick, simple, only a few ingredients and incredibly fresh. 

It's also packed with complete plant-based protein, healthy fats, antioxidants and digestion friendly herbs & spices. Complete proteins are those which contain all essential amino acids, and whilst this is common in animal based proteins such as meat and eggs, plant proteins are often incomplete, making quinoa a superior option if you follow a plant-based lifestyle.

We use avocado oil in the recipe too. You can swap this for other oils, but with avocado oil having a smoking point that's higher than both coconut and olive oil, this is our favourite choice. Coconut Oil's smoking point is around 175 degrees, with Olive Oil's going as low as 160 degrees.

Knowing the smoking point of your cooking oil is important as once the limit is reached, your oil will begin releasing harmful chemicals known as free radicals that cause damage to our bodies. Work WITH your oil and use it appropriately. Avocado Oil has a smoking point of around 200 degrees, but to be on the safe side we heat ours to 185 in this recipe.

The great thing is, if you're struggling to get hold of certain ingredients, you can mix and match - why not try swapping quinoa for lentils, or perhaps swap mint for basil. Make the variations that suit your pantry, what's in season, or what's available in the supermarket. 
 
Ingredients:
1 cup of organic quinoa
4-6 potatoes (I use Seasons Gold)
1-3 tbsp avocado oil
Black pepper
Pink salt
Cherry vine tomatoes (small bunch)
3-4 tbsp pine nuts
1 small handful of fresh mint + 6-8 small leaves for garnish
2 small handfuls of fresh rocket
 
Method:
Serves 2
  1. Turn your oven to 185 degrees and set out a baking tray ready for your potatoes.
  2. For the quinoa: add 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to a pan with 2 parts filtered water, bring to the boil and allow to simmer until the water has disappeared and the quinoa is soft and fluffy - this should take 12-15 minutes depending on the brand of quinoa.
  3. While your quinoa is simmering, slice your potatoes in small cubes.
  4. Add to the baking tray you set aside earlier, season well with pink salt and black pepper. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp avocado oil. Place these into the oven and bake until golden brown (around 12-15 minutes).
  5. Next, you'll need your vine tomatoes, pine nuts and mint. Slice the tomatoes into small even pieces (as a rule of thumb I would half, half again and then once again). Set aside in a small dish.
  6. Finely chop a small handful of mint and add this to the chopped tomatoes, followed by pine nuts, generous seasoning and a swig of avocado oil. Mix until combined.
  7. Add your cooked potatoes into the quinoa pan and mix before adding to a serving bowl. Top with a generous serving of salsa, drizzle with avocado oil and finally garnish with fresh rocket, black pepper and a few delicate mint leaves. 
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Written by Katie McIntosh