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Going meat-free some of the time, rather than every day, is becoming ever more popular. Nicola Graimes is one of the food writers inspiring a new generation of cooks to be more creative with veg – and it all starts with choosing ingredients wisely


Sour cherry, red quinoa and spiced almond salad [v]


“The success of this salad is all about balance – you don’t want any single ingredient to dominate. It should be a harmonious mixture of favours, textures and colours.”

Sour cherry, red quinoa and spiced almond salad

FOOD TEAM’S TIP Soaking the nuts makes them easier to digest, but if you like a crunch, don't soak them.

PER SERVING 560kcals, 34.5g fat (11.4g saturated), 20.4g protein, 39.5g carbs (25.8g sugars), 0.9g salt, 6.3g fibre

WINE EDITOR’S CHOICE A dry, young rose, perhaps from Bordeaux or Sancerre, is a perky partner here.

• 60g blanched almonds

• 2 tsp harissa paste

• 100g quinoa (red, white or black)

• 8 large handfuls mixed red and green salad leaves

• 1 small red onion, finely sliced

• 2 large handfuls fresh mint leaves, torn

• 2 large handfuls fresh flatleaf parsley, torn

• 125g dried sour cherries

• 200g firm goat’s cheese, crumbled


• Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon

• 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

• ½ tsp cumin seeds

1. Soak the almonds in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt for 15 minutes until slightly softened (see tip). Drain, then put in a bowl with the harissa, turning to coat. Heat the oven to 180¡C/160¡C fan/gas 4.

2. Meanwhile put the quinoa in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn down the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, put the nuts on a baking sheet, spread out evenly and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until golden. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Put the salad leaves into a large shallow serving bowl and top with the quinoa, red onion, herbs and sour cherries. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and season to taste.

Spoon the dressing over the salad and toss until combined, then scatter the crumbled goatÕs cheese and baked almonds over the top.

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About delicious. Magazine

Ottolenghi is back! Find his new recipes in our October issue, along with the best things to eat this autumn including Hugh F-W’s cheesy gratin, Atul Kochhar's home cooking and easy one-pot meals. There’s also a Mexican chilli cook-off, proper bao buns and a foolproof beef wellington. On the sweet side, get stuck into John Whaite's rich chocolate cake, a frangipane crumble and our ultimate biscuit collection – better put the kettle on…