Quinoa & Asparagus Salad with Matcha Lemon Dressing

Quinoa & Asparagus Salad, Matcha Lemon Dressing | Photo by Con Poulos

This vibrant and earthy green tea dressing is packed with anti-oxidants and healthful flavours. To taste the real benefits of this vital vinaigrette try to use a good cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, I often replace half of the olive oil with an omega 3,6,9 oil from the health food store and add a spoonful of raw cacao nibs with the herbs. The umami secret in this recipe is the mixing of all five basic tastes, sweet, sour, bitter and salty and taste how combined with the green tea they bring out the umami in the asparagus.

Recipe from Laura Santtini's At Home With Umami | 2015 Ryland Peters Small

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

100g black or red quinoa (I prefer black because it is the crunchiest)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
a bunch of asparagus spears, woody ends cut off
4 oranges
2 large avocado, peeled, stoned and cut into chunks
1 large red onion, finely sliced
handful mint, roughly chopped
handful basil, roughly chopped
4 large handfuls arugula leaves

FOR THE DRESSING

7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (squashed and peeled)
Juice of  ½ lemon
½ tsp good quality matcha green tea (low quality matcha can bitter and khaki in colour rather than vibrant green)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

TO SERVE

1 handful of toasted pumpkin seed

METHOD

  1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water and then cook in a large pan of salted boiling water for about 12-20 minutes (depending on the colour) until the grains become soft but still have some bite. 1 part quinoa 2 parts water. If pan starts to look dry, add another splash of water.
  2. Once cooked drain, stir through a little olive oil to stop it from sticking together and set aside to cool.
  3. Steam or boil the asparagus until cooked and the stalks are al dente. Remove from heat, drain and refresh under cold running water to fix the colour and set aside. Slice each stalk on the diagonal into thumb-length spears.
  4. With a sharp knife cut down the sides of the oranges to remove the skin and pith and slice the orange into ½ cm discs, if using a big orange cut these in half to make half moons. Save any juice from the oranges to add to your dressing.
  5. Peel and dice avocado into large chunks.
  6. Put all salad ingredients, including the herbs and rocket, into a large serving dish and toss together.
  7. To make the dressing combine all the ingredients apart from the oil in a bowl and then whisk in the oil. Season to taste.  Leave to sit so garlic can infuse. If you find the matcha a little bitter for your taste you can add a drop of runny honey to balance the flavours.  You can also add some chilli or wasabi powder for a kick of heat.
  8. To serve, remove garlic and pour the dressing onto the salad and combine well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds.