Running to Stand Still: Toasted quinoa, lentil and poached salmon salad

In his book, Notes on a Small Island, Bill Bryson, who I revere and adore, laid claim to the title “Lord Lather of Indecision”. If you haven’t read it yet, sort that out. I’d loan you mine, but it is precious because SIGNED COPY:



Anyway, my point is that if I had a title, it would be something along the lines of Princess Procrastinate of Dither. Decisions do not come easily to me and I will avoid making them in as many ways possible (for example). However, the big birthday of the year is just around the corner and I need to put down the book and start making decisions. What to do, where to go, what to say, what to think. Ideally, I would have a very bossy opinionated Personal Assistant to say “Do this”, “Apply for that”, “Go there”, “Talk to him”, “Stop doing that”, “Wear this”. But I don’t. I just have me (thank goodness no-one else is dependent on my decision-making!) and this is not something that should be bogging me down. Change is welcome. So are suggestions, but that might be considered enabling on your part.



One thing is that I’m renewing is my promise to write more blog entries. On top of that, I’m going to insert some of the articles that I’ve been flagging over the past weeks and months at the bottom of the blog post, to make it worth your while scrolling all the way down.

So I’d better get on to the recipe. I made this delicious healthy salad a couple of weeks ago. It makes a hefty amount: I ate it the night before a football tournament in Amsterdam, and had plenty for lunch the next two days. Please note that I used black quinoa, because it was all I had, so the regular toasted stuff isn’t going to be this dark.


Toasted Quinoa, Lentil and Poached Salmon salad


140g quinoa

1 tsp olive oil

400ml vegetable stock

250g asparagus (trimmed)

100g frozen peas

140g broccoli florets (trimmed and halved)

Zest and juice of one lemon

2 salmon fillets (approx 150g each)

1 garlic clove (crushed)

250g ready-cooked/canned and rinsed green lentils

6 spring onions (diagonally sliced)

Large handful of fresh mint and coriander (roughly chopped)

85g baby spinach leaves (optional)

25g flaked almonds


Rinse the quinoa and put it into a large frying pan. On a medium heat, dry out the grains, stirring them around the pan.

When all the liquid has evapourated, stir in the oil. Continue to cook the quinoa until it has started to turn browner and the grains start to pop (around 10-15 minutes).

Stir regularly to avoid burning. When it is ready, pour the stock over it and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Put this into a bowl and allow to cool.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and throw in the peas, asparagus and broccoli. Simmer for 2 minutes (depending on how al dente you like your vegetables). Remove with a slotted spoon, plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water, and then drain the vegetables.

Add a teaspoon of the lemon juice to the pan of hot vegetable water and turn the heat down to a simmer. Submerge the salmon fillets fully in the water (season if necessary – I don’t think it is necessary, there are plenty of other flavours going on and the stock used for the quinoa is salty enough).

Poach the fish for 6-8 minutes until just cooked. Remove, allow it to cool, take off the skin and flake into large chunks.

Make a dressing by mixing the garlic, most of the lemon zest and the remaining lemon juice. If you are using it for a packed lunch like me, you can just mix all the ingredients together, with the leftover lemon zest and the flaked almonds on top. Otherwise you can do fancy stuff, with platters and whatnot. Either way, it was a hit (according to me and anyone else in the vicinity).


What I’ve been liking:

  1. Dan Savage addressing one of my niggling concerns about relationships
  2. For anyone who wants to veer away from using too many cleaning chemicals in their home (hello toxic fumes from industrial strength floor cleaner!)
  3. If I had a superpower, it would be the ability to mimic others/do accents
  4. These are beautiful
  5. The Founding of Tinder a la The Social Network. I’ve added the Jezebel link because a genius in the comment thread noted that a lot of guys on Tinder have photos of themselves with tigers, which led to this bizarre bonus feature.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sean McCarthy says:

    Hi Sylvia
    this is the first blog of yours that I read. Brilliant – but then I am a bit biased. Mom and yourself should start writing. Then I will retire.


    1. Thanks Dad. A lovely comment to wake up to! Hello to the Norwegians


  2. brennanjane says:

    Reblogged this on Dromthorn Recipes and commented:
    My first reblog (aka steal)… made this last night, delish. My favourite part was when the quinoa popped! Thanks Sylvia!


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