I’ve been feeling a bit like a guinea pig lately. Don’t worry, Peruvians have not been trying to eat me, it’s just that we’ve been doing a lot of experiments on ourselves at school. The most challenging has been one where we were divided into two groups and half of us were assigned to a diet high in saturated fat while the rest of us were on polyunsaturated fat. The other involved pricking my finger with a piece of metal repeatedly and bleeding on a bit of gauze but we won’t go into that because this is a family friendly blog we have here.
Gentle Reader, do you know how much of my total caloric intake was from fat calories? 50%. I was obliged to reduce it 30%, most of which had to be polyunsaturated fat. Which is when I realised butter and chocolate do not constitute one of the main food groups (why didn’t you guys tell me that before I started nutrition school!?)
But I swear the rest of my diet is healthy! Just look at this salad. I made it just after I visited the town of Gorgonzola and came back laden with mouldy cheese but any cheese, indeed no cheese would work too. Pesto made with things other than basil I tell you, it’s the way of the future.
I have to go now and do something called a Lineweaver-Burk plot which I’m fairly sure isn’t even a thing but a special form of torture devised by my biochemistry teacher to mess with our heads but it’s ok – it’s the last day of the polyunsaturated fats diet and I have a blue cheese sandwich and some white chocolate in my bag for after the blood test. And some broccoli too, of course.
What’s messing with your heads at the moment? Tell aunty Sasa.
Quinoa, Spinach and Cashew Pesto and Gorgonzola Salad
This is more of a suggestion salad – you could easily use cous cous or bulghur wheat for the grain, and cooked broccoli or some other leaf for the greens in the pesto or other nuts or other cheese. I was inspired by Sara’s broccoli pesto salad on Sprouted Kitchen.
50 grams cashew nuts plus a few for garnish
1 clove garlic
40 ml oil
Juice of half a lemon
170 grams spinach plus a handful for garnish, washed and stemmed (stemmed I said, not steamed!)
1.5 cups quinoa, soaked for 15 minutes, rinsed and drained well
30 grams Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
Half a zucchini, thinly sliced 4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
Broad beans, steamed and peeled (you could use frozen ones, or even steamed edamame here)
Green beans, blanched, plunged quickly into iced water and drained
Whatsoever else your little hearts desire
Put the quinoa and 2.5 cups water in a pot. Bring to the boil and immediately lower to a bare simmer. Cover tightly and cook a further 30 minutes, then leave to cool.
Combine the first amount of cashews, garlic, oil, lemon juice, first amount of spinach and salt in a food processor and process until mostly smooth. Taste for salt, you’ll want quite a bit, it’s got to season the grains, remember.
Mix the pesto through the quinoa well.
Put some of the spinach on a plate and top with the pesto-y quinoa, then the radish, cheese, zucchini, beans and broad beans and remaining cashew nuts.