I asked my best friend and her husband to test this recipe for me. She told me a few days later that they had made it, enjoyed it for dinner, and put the remaining portions in the fridge for lunch the next day … only to devour them half an hour later. I couldn’t ask for a greater compliment.
You can use almost any herbs for the dressing, as long as the total quantity is around 35g – mix and match according to what you have. Coriander, parsley, dill and chives all work well, and grapefruit mint, if you can find it, works fabulously, echoing the citrus notes of the juice. This is one of my favourite meals in January, when I need a little green and some sharpness to counteract the excess of Christmas – it is packed full of zingy flavours, balanced out by the salty depth of the halloumi, and proves that grapefruit should not be confined to the breakfast table.
For the very green quinoa
200g frozen peas or broad beans
1 teaspoon salt, plus a generous pinch for the nuts
2 avocados, stoned and flesh sliced
3 big handfuls of rocket or baby spinach leaves
60g shelled pistachio nuts
2 teaspoons maple syrup
250g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices
For the dressing
1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice (from the grapefruit for the quinoa, above)
2 spring onions, roughly chopped15g mint leaves
20g basil leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons full-fat plain or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon runny honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon good-quality olive oil
Place the quinoa in a large saucepan over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally as the quinoa toasts. Once it begins to pop vigorously, add the peas or broad beans, 480ml of water and the salt. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for 12 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave the quinoa covered in the pan for 5 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork. It should be quite dry – if it is wet, drain off any excess water and leave the grains to sit in a sieve or colander to dry out a little.
Meanwhile, zest the grapefruit and set the zest aside.
Cut of the top and bottom to expose the grapefruit flesh. Stand the grapefruit on one of its cut ends on a chopping board and use a sharp, serrated knife to slice off the remaining skin and pith. Holding the fruit over a sieve placed over a bowl, use the knife to slice between the membranes of the fruit and cut out the segments of flesh, dropping them into the sieve. Squeeze the remaining membrane into the sieve at the end. Discard the skin (squeeze it, too, to catch any juice).
Make the dressing. Put 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice in a mini chopper or food processor along with a teaspoon of the grapefruit zest (keep the rest for later) and the other dressing ingredients. Blitz well to make a creamy, green paste. Check the flavours – you may want a little more grapefruit or lime juice, or honey or maple syrup. The dressing should be quite sharp. Set aside.
When the quinoa is ready, transfer it to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining grapefruit zest, the avocado and the rocket or spinach leaves. Stir in half the dressing. Roughly chop the grapefruit segments into 2cm pieces or so, then gently stir them into the quinoa mixture.
Just Try It
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pistachios and toast, shaking the pan regularly, until they start to smell nutty and turn slightly golden (1–2 minutes). Throw in a generous pinch of salt and trickle in the maple syrup, swirling the pan so it bubbles and coats the nuts. Stir everything well to coat, then pour the sticky pistachios onto some baking parchment and leave to cool.
Put the pan back on the heat and add the halloumi slices. Fry them over medium-high heat for 1–2 minutes on each side, until golden.
Divide the quinoa equally between four bowls, then top with the halloumi. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the halloumi. Roughly chop the candied pistachios and scatter them over. Serve immediately.