This recipe is one big homage to the cooking of one of my favourite chefs Yottam Ottolenghi and I hope it doesn’t seem too derivative. We do a vegetarian week every month and that basically entails cooking nothing but dishes from his Plenty cookbook so I took inspiration from a few of the recipes in there, namely these two.
I’ve made a special effort to include as many contrasting textures in the salad as possible as it’s an Ottolenghi trademark: crunchy raw courgettes and toasted pine nuts, soft and creamy black beans (only three minutes in a pressure cooker if soaked overnight) and a bit of bite from the al dente broad beans and quinoa.
Then there’s the fistful of herbs complemented by a large dose of lemony sumac all underpinned by hot and spicy bird’s eye chillis and peppery nasturtium flowers that give a big burst of colour. To add a cooling note to the dish I’m using a yohurt and cucumber sauce based on this although I’ve omitted the chilli for obvious reasons.
For the yoghurt sauce
100ml Greek yoghurt
2.5ml lemon juice
30g cucumber, peeled and deseeded
1 small clove garlic, minced
For the quinoa
1 medium courgette, shaved into ribbons
50g pine nuts
200ml vegetable stock
30ml olive oil
2 small courgettes, chopped into 1cm rounds
150g broad beans, podded weight
150g black beans, cooked
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
10g dill, finely chopped
10g mint, finely chopped
10g purple basil, finely chopped
10g fennel, finely chopped
5ml lemon juice
10 nasturtium flowers
10 borage flowers
- For the yoghurt sauce, blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Reserve.
- For the quinoa, put the courgette ribbons into a colander and sprinkle with salt.
- Leave for an hour and then squeeze as much water out of the ribbons as possible. Reserve.
- Preheat an oven to 180°C and then bake the pine nuts in a tray until golden, around 5 minutes. Reserve.
- In a wide pan, toast the quinoa over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
- Pour the quinoa into a small sauce pan and add the vegetable stock and some salt.
- Bring to the boil and then put the pan on the lowest heat and cover.
- Cook for 15 minutes and then take off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil.
- Fry the courgette rounds until golden brown on both sides.
- Reserve the courgettes in the frying pan to reheat the other ingredients.
- Bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil and add the broad beans.
- Cook for two minutes and then drain before plunging the beans into a bowl of iced water.
- Gently heat the pan with the courgette rounds and add the black beans, broad beans, pine nuts and heat through.
- When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and pour into a big bowl.
- Add the reheated ingredients and everything else bar the borage flowers and mix thoroughly.
- Check the seasoning and add some more olive oil.
- Divide between two plates and sprinkle over the borage flowers; serve the yoghurt sauce on the side.