Did you notice something strange last week? There was a brief moment when the sun shone and it felt like we were finally coming out of hibernation and into the glorious spring. Of course, it then snowed (again) and we were back to wanting to huddle under the duvet chain-drinking tea, but that’s Britain for you.

With spring finally in sight, Gopi Chandran (who is the executive head chef at posh Sopwell House in St Albans), has shared his recipe for a delicious and nutritious quinoa and sweet potato salad that will remind you that that the cold WILL end. Eventually.

Quinoa and sweet potato salad

Quinoa and sweet potato salad

Serves 4. 429 calories per serving. The leftovers are great served cold the next day for a fuss-free lunch.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, cut lengthways into ¼ inch thick slices
  • Malden sea salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 20ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200g quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 red chilli, chopped and deseeded 
  • 10g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 10g fresh mint, chopped
  • 15g fresh dill, chopped
  • Seeds from ½ a small pomegranate

Method

  1. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fennel is just tender and lightly golden. Add the lemon juice and sugar. Stir through and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and pepper and set to one side.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Drizzle the sweet potato with olive oil, sea salt and cumin. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, and then set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and 700ml water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and reduce to a low simmer for around 10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked. Drain and return to the pan. Let the quinoa sit in the pan covered for 15 minutes, before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl.
  4. Remove the peel and white pith from the lemon. Cut between the membranes to release the segments. Discard the membranes and roughly chop. Add the chopped lemon with its juices to the cooked quinoa along with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and stir. Add the fennel mixture, sweet potato, chilli, and herbs. Gently incorporate and season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. 

Sopwell House is a stunning 18th century Georgian house in St. Albans, only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, making it an idyllic getaway just outside of the hustle and bustle of the capital. The hotel is the perfect place to dine, boasting a 2AA Rosette restaurant, a vibrant brasserie, an elegant cocktail lounge and a conservatory bar, all of which look out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens.

Quinoa and sweet potato salad

Head chef Gopi hard at work