Quinoa, Courgettes, Broad Beans, Black Beans, Pine Nuts, Herbs, Flowers, Sumac 2

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.

Quinoa, Courgettes, Broad Beans, Black Beans, Pine Nuts, Herbs, Flowers, Sumac

Serves: 2

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
15g salt
50g pine nuts
100g quinoa
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
15g za’atar
5ml lemon juice
10 nasturtium flowers
10 borage flowers


  1. For the yoghurt sauce, blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Reserve.
  2. For the quinoa, put the courgette ribbons into a colander and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Leave for an hour and then squeeze as much water out of the ribbons as possible. Reserve.
  4. Preheat an oven to 180°C and then bake the pine nuts in a tray until golden, around 5 minutes. Reserve.
  5. In a wide pan, toast the quinoa over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Pour the quinoa into a small sauce pan and add the vegetable stock and some salt.
  7. Bring to the boil and then put the pan on the lowest heat and cover.
  8. Cook for 15 minutes and then take off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil.
  10. Fry the courgette rounds until golden brown on both sides.
  11. Reserve the courgettes in the frying pan to reheat the other ingredients.
  12. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to the boil and add the broad beans.
  13. Cook for two minutes and then drain before plunging the beans into a bowl of iced water.
  14. Gently heat the pan with the courgette rounds and add the black beans, broad beans, pine nuts and heat through.
  15. When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and pour into a big bowl.
  16. Add the reheated ingredients and everything else bar the borage flowers and mix thoroughly.
  17. Check the seasoning and add some more olive oil.
  18. Divide between two plates and sprinkle over the borage flowers; serve the yoghurt sauce on the side.

2 thoughts on “Quinoa, Courgettes, Broad Beans, Black Beans, Pine Nuts, Herbs, Flowers, Sumac

  1. Reply John Loydall Aug 23, 2012 8:36 pm

    Liking the nasturtium flowers – have you ever used nasturtium leaf? They’re really quite tasty. My parents have a load in their garden that we eat every so often although they’re looking a bit battered by now.

    We use borage flowers in ice cubes as well as salads – apparently (and I honestly can’t confirm this) if you eat enough of them you’ll experience a mild euphoria from them. I just they look pretty.

    Nice looking salad btw.

    • Reply stefano Aug 24, 2012 11:31 am

      Yeah, I’ve used the leaves before, love the peppery hit you get off them. Even seen them on the menu of really top restaurants, suppose we’ve got Noma to thank for that.

      My interest in borage flowers is purely visual too. Haha. Although I do like the vague cucumber taste they have as well.

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