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Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil

, Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil
, Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil
Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil

We had a pretty memorable pastry class this weekend at Relish Mama. Memorable for so many reasons in a good way but then there was also the small issue of loosing all power to the building mid class – quite memorable for me I can tell you. Our guests and Chef were incredible and truly just rolled with it. Thankfully Elaine had blind baked many of the tart shells before we heard the ‘pop’ and then we were suddenly cooking by candle light. I poured champange as really, what else can one do whilst you wait for the help to arrive?

There is definitely pastry overload in this class by end of class (if there is such a thing)!

I made a lovely salad in the morning for the guests to help themselves to throughout the class as a) I was mindful the class would run through lunch time b) I think it is fairly apparent by now that I just want to feed people (usually too much) and c) I wanted to kerb the hunger with something light and healthy so the guests could completely indulge in their amazing pastries by class end.

I decided upon this quinoa salad with a wonderful homemade basil oil which pulls it all together. With basil coming in to season, I wanted to share this recipe with you all here. It’s all about the balance, I say!

I am pleased to report the school has power again (talk about keeping one on their toes, hey!).



Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil

Serves 6-8

Quinoa is a complete protein – will all nine essential aminio acids and is high in fibre and iron. It is great to have on hand. Check out this post here first to master how to prepare and cook quinoa to perfection.

The basil oil will keep for up to 3 months, in a jar kept in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature when you want to use it again. It is lovely with anything you typically love to pair basil with. I love it with grilled fish, salads, tomatoes, bruschetta & tossed through seafood pasta.

I used tri colour quinoa for this dish but you can use straight white or black too.


2 cups quinoa
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
500g peas (fresh or frozen)
1 bunch basil leaves, torn
1 bunch watercress, washed

Basil oil
1 bunch basil
200ml olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Goats cheese & toasted chopped pistachios, to serve (optional)


Rinse the quinoa over a sieve before you begin. This is an important step to ensure you remove the bitter tasting coating.

Bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Add the quinoa and a pinch of sea salt.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Allow to cool slightly before spooning into a large bowl or tray to cool completely.

, Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil
Tri colour quinoa cooked and cooling

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and cook the onion for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Set aside.

Cook the peas in boiling water for 1 minute, until tender. Refresh in cold water and set aside.

For the basil oil, place the basil, oil and salt in a saucepan and bring to a temperature of 80oC. If you do not have a thermometer, this only takes two minutes and it is ready before boiling point. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz for two minutes. Place the basil oil in a sieve lined with a clean muslin (or chux) cloth. You do not want any basil fragments in your oil. Squeeze the cloth tight with your hands to strain your pure basil oil into your jar. Set aside until you are ready to dress your salad.

, Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil
Making basil oil

Place the quinoa, onion, peas, basil leaves and watercress in a large bowl. Toss with your hands to combine. Add the basil oil (enough to bring your salad together and to coat the salad well but you likely will not need it all). Top with goats cheese and chopped pistachios and serve.

, Quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil
A delicious quinoa salad with peas, watercress and homemade basil oil

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