As the heatwave shows no signs of abating, all we feel like eating is salad, but if you're getting bored of your usual combinations, try this one from Melissa Hemsley. The Eat Happy cook and writer served it up for lunch when we went to her East London home recently and the combination of nutty quinoa, juicy pomegranate and fresh mint was both satisfying and refreshing. This is a real summer staple that's quick and easy to make, keeps well and lends itself perfectly to picnics, lunch al desco and as a side dish for barbeques.


Ingredients

300g quinoa, rinsed well and drained and cooked according to packet instructions
300g fresh or frozen peas 
30g / 1 large handful of chives, finely snipped or use spring onions
50g fresh parsley, leaves and stems finely chopped
50g fresh mint, leaves finely chopped, save stalks for fresh mint tea
100g fresh basil, leaves and stalks finely chopped
2 large handfuls of salad leaves like pea shoots, watercress, rocket
1 large pomegranate, halved and “spanked” (see below)
1 large handful of pinenuts or other nuts or seeds

Lemon dressing

Juice of 2 lemons, about 6 tablespoons
10 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, to taste
Sea salt and pepper

Method

1. Take a large pan and toast the pine nuts on medium heat for about a minute until they are toasted, keep an eye on them, then tip them out and set aside.
2. Put the pan back on the hob and cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, normally takes about 15 minutes, drain any excess water.
3. Meanwhile if the peas are frozen, cover with hot water and let defrost.
4. Shake the dressing ingredients together in a jam jar or whisk in a bowl.
  5. Prepare all the herbs by snipping or chopping according to the ingredient.
6. Tip the cooked quinoa into a large serving bowl then pour over the dressing and all the herbs, give it a mix and leave to cool for 10 -15 minutes (you can eat it hot but I prefer it warm).
7. Take each of the pomegranate halves, turn flesh side down in one hand and use a wooden spatula to spank the pomegranate and the jewel like seeds will drop into the quinoa bowl. Repeat until they are all out, save some for decoration then toss everything together with the salad leaves, taste for seasoning, top with the reserved pine nuts and pomegranate seeds to serve.

Little Beach House Malibu

Little Beach House is a small, local club for the creative community of Malibu and the surrounding coastal areas.