Cucumber, quinoa & tarragon-yoghurt salad

Cucumber, quinoa & tarragon-yoghurt salad

New Feast
Alan Benson

We are huge fans of quinoa. Botanically speaking, quinoa is a relative of leafy vegetables like spinach and beets, and not cereal grains like wheat. Its tiny seeds are nutritional super-foods, with high levels of protein, fibre, iron and other essential elements. Best of all perhaps, it is amazingly quick and easy to prepare. It works well as a gluten-free substitute in dishes where you might otherwise use couscous or cracked wheat, but has its own delicate flavour and texture. As a bonus, its near-translucent pearly sheen is very pretty. This quality is shown off to great advantage in this light summer salad with its refreshing aniseed flavours of fennel and tarragon.


Quantity Ingredient
100g quinoa
350ml boiling vegetable stock or water
1 lebanese cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into 5 mm dice
1/2 small fennel, cut into 5 mm dice
a handful nasturtium leaves, (optional)
a handful edible flowers, (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1 teaspoon dried mint
50g greek-style yoghurt
40ml extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
freshly ground black pepper
100g soft, creamy feta, crumbled


  1. Put the quinoa into a pan and cover generously with boiling stock or water. Simmer for 10 minutes then tip into a sieve and leave to drain for 10 minutes or so, stirring with your fingers every now and then to help drain away any excess moisture. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Tip the cooled quinoa into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, fennel, leaves, flowers and fresh and dried herbs. Pour on the yoghurt, oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Finally, add the crumbled feta and mix everything together gently. Check the seasoning and chill for 10–15 minutes until ready to serve.
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