This salad from the latest issue of Food and Drink is a great accompaniment to grilled meats and would also be hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian entrée. Toasting the quinoa takes a few minutes but it imparts a nutty flavour. You can use broccoli instead of broccolini; grilled asparagus would also work well. The pesto is delicious — I used pecans instead of walnuts and tossed a few extra into the salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Dried fruit often contains sulfites so check the label on the dates; I use Parnoosh brand. The other ingredients to check for additives and preservatives are the feta, nuts, red wine vinegar and cumin. I use Krinos feta, Eden Organic vinegar and No-Name nuts and cumin.

Toasting the quinoa gives it a nutty flavour

Grill the broccolini on a barbecue or grill pan until tender and charred in places

Walnut dill pesto

Combine the dates, feta, green onions and broccolini before adding the quinoa

Toasted quinoa, broccolini and date salad


1 cup (250 ml) quinoa

2 cups (500 ml) water

1 bunch broccolini

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, plus extra for brushing

12 pitted dates, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

5 oz (150 g) crumbled sheep’s milk feta

2 cloves garlic

½ cup (125 ml) toasted walnut pieces

½ cup (125 ml) roughly chopped, loosely packed dill

¼ cup (60 ml) roughly chopped, loosely packed parsley

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

2 tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Pour dry quinoa into a medium pot and set over medium heat; leave undisturbed until quinoa begins to pop. Stir continuously from this point for about 5 minutes or until quinoa smells distinctly nutty and is noticeably darker. Carefully pour water over (water will sputter vigorously). Cover and boil for 12 to 14 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove lid and let stand until cooled to room temperature.

Meanwhile, heat barbecue or grill pan to high. Brush broccolini with a little olive oil and grill for 6 to 7 minutes or until tender and charred. Remove to a board and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large serving bowl along with the dates, green onion, feta and quinoa. Set aside.

Add ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, garlic, walnuts, dill, parsley, salt, vinegar and cumin to a food processor; pulse until mixture resembles a chunky pesto. Pour over salad and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper, and adjust salt only if necessary. Serves 6.

From Food and Drink