Modern Australian / Recipes / Salads

Dried fig and nut quinoa salad


I created this recipe a couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a friend’s place for lunch and I wanted to do something different with quinoa. I had bought the day before some lovely dries figs and I thought why not use them instead of my usual currants or Persian sultana.

Creativity was in full swing that day so I decided to also use prunes and grilled carrots and sweet potatoes. I wanted to add my usual  feta because I love the combined taste of salty and sweet at the same time but I had run out. So I introduced other flavours such as cumin, coriander and barberries. I wanted a bit of a Persian flavour in the dish.


The salad was a great hit, and a few girls asked for the recipe. I guess feta or goat cheese will still go nicely with it but I am happy to leave it out as I use it  in other recipes. I also did not add any oil to the  dressing which makes this salad so light and refreshing. It is so healthy and jam packed with gorgeous flavours. 

Tip: When you grill your vegetables and boil beetroot feel free to make extra and leave them in the fridge, they keep well for a couple of days and make great sandwich fillings or just throw them in your next day salad.


Nuts on top of the quinoa salad

Nuts on top of the quinoa salad


1 cup quinoa

2 cups boiling water

2 beetroot

1 sweet potato

3 medium size carrots

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw pistachio

1/4 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup diced prunes

3 table spoons barberries

6 diced dried figs

1 tea spoon cumin

1/2 tea spoon turmeric

1/4 tea spoon black pepper

1/2 tea spoon of sea salt

1/4 cup coriander leaves

2 sprigs shallots

A handful of bean sprouts

2 tea spoons olive oil, and extra olive oil for brushing the grilled vegetables.

Juice of 1 lemon

To make the salad:

Peel and slice carrots and sweet potato and grill under the grill. When cooked brush lighly with olive oil and turn to grill other side. When cooked dice and put aside. Slice each beetroot into six wedges unpeeled and put in a pot and only cover halfway with water, bring it to the boil and simmer. Check the water level and turn heat off when it is tender. Rinse and cool under cold running water while removing the skin. It will slide off. Dice and put aside.

Rince quinoa well then place in pot with 2 cups of boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander. In the same pot add 1 teas spoon olive oil, cumin, pepper and turmeric. Fry until fragrant, only about a minute, then add quinoa. Toss for a few minutes until quin0a is dry and fluffy and has absorbed all the spices.  Place in a salad bowl.

In the same pot add 1 tea spoon of oil and add almonds, cashew, pistachios, diced figs, diced prunes and stir until nuts are lightly golden. Do not pan fry them too much so the fresh raw flavour is retained. Add pine nuts until lightly golden and remove and pour on top of the quinoa. Add the diced grilled carrots, sweet potatoes and the barberries. Toss together and just prior to serving add the beetroot, shallots, coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix all together and decorate with the bean sprouts on top.

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