Red cabbage, quinoa and avocado salad

Today’s lunch was a salad from delicious magazine, which was indeed delicious – healthy, satisfying and vegan too. More importantly at the moment, given restricted shopping opportunities, I had half a red cabbage in the fridge that needed eating, quinoa in the cupboard and broad beans in the freezer, so only needed to forage for some herbs, lime and an avocado, as the seasonings are store cupboard staples for me. The original recipe used edamame beans, but we prefer broad beans – do swap back if you wish. I have slightly upped the quantity of quinoa and cooked it from scratch: given that it takes all of 15 minutes to cook, I can’t bring myself to pay the extra for ready-cooked quinoa. You could use a good pinch of chilli flakes if you don’t have fresh chilli, watercress or lettuce instead of spinach and finely chopped shallot or red onion if you don’t have spring onions. And, at a pinch, you could probably omit the avocado and try it with lemon juice instead of lime .

The dressing is a sort of pesto made from mint, coriander and peanuts, flavoured with tamari soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice, which we thought would also be good stirred through noodles and stir-fry vegetables. I think you could change the herbs – for example, to parsley or basil – if you can’t get mint or coriander, and use cashews or salted peanuts, if you haven’t got unsalted peanuts, just adjusting the salt in the dressing accordingly.

IMG_6225 2The sludgy green dressing and quinoa tinged pink from the cabbage mean that it isn’t a looker, but the taste makes up for it! We will definitely be making it again. Quantities are for two, generously – we had it with a slice of sourdough bread and couldn’t finish it all.

  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 60g quinoa
  • 100g broad beans
  • 1 red chilli
  • 30g baby leaf spinach or other leaves
  • 2 spring onions
  • ½ ripe avocado


  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 10g coriander
  • 5g mint
  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 25g unsalted peanuts
  • a thumb of fresh ginger
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Trim away the thick core of the cabbage, slice it once lengthways to give two wedges, and then slice it thinly across the two wedges. Tip the ruby shards into a bowl, grate the zest of a lime over, then add the juice of the lime and season with salt and pepper. Toss all together and put on one side while you make the rest of the salad.

Rinse the quinoa and put in a medium saucepan with 180ml of water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-17 minutes until the tails of the seeds have uncurled and the water has all been absorbed. Leave it in the pin with the lid on until you are ready to use it. Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 3-5 minutes until tender, then refresh under cold water and drain. Wash the spinach (or other leaves) if necessary. Chop the red chilli – I used a whole, not too hot red chilli without the seeds, but feel free to adapt this depending on what you have and how much heat you like.

Pick the leaves of the mint off the stems, and put a few coriander leaves and peanuts aside to garnish the dish. Peel and grate the ginger and crush the garlic. Then put all the dressing ingredients (including the coriander stems) into a small blender/processor and whizz to a paste (or chop them all together very finely and mix in a bowl). I only put the juice of half a lime in the dressing, and squeezed a little more lime juice over the salad at the end, but don’t see that it makes much difference.

When you are ready to finish the salad mix the quinoa into the cabbage, then add the chilli, beans and most of the dressing, stirring well together. Slice or dice the avocado and finely chop the spring onion. Add these and the spinach to the salad, toss again and serve garnished with the remainder of the dressing and the reserved coriander leaves and peanuts.

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