A question I get asked, quite frequently, is "How on earth do you get enough protein in your diet if you don't eat meat?". I love answering this question because most people are exceptionally surprised when they hear that vegetables and even fruit contain decent amounts of protein. Yes, eating a diet rich in plant-based wholefoods will actually provide you with more than enough protein. Broccoli is a fabulous example of plant protein! It contains 2.8g of protein per 100g serving. That's a pretty decent amount for a vegetable and paired with our star plant protein, quinoa, you'll be well on your way to meeting your daily protein requirements. Most women need around 40g of protein day.

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Let's chat about quinoa! I was overjoyed when I discovered this lean, clean grain because it is the only plant based complete protein. It contains all eight of the essential amino acids that are not produced naturally by your body. It's also high in fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, so makes a great choice as a base for a salad or side to a main meal. It has a delicious nutty flavour and goes well with anything. I love it with roasted veg, fish and salads.

This is my go-to recipe at the moment and I've been using it for some of my recent cooking demonstrations. This week I was asked to run a class for a group of twelve lovely Mummies who just wanted a night out with a difference. The class was hosted by one of the Mums who was so gracious to open up her beautiful home and big kitchen to us all. I arrived at around 7pm to set everything up and the ladies started trickling in slowly, intrigued at all the fresh wholesome ingredients.

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We began by making the Beet and Berry smoothie which was a definite hit! The only downside is that it is super filling and there wasn't much room left in tummies for the main event, a slightly different version of this recipe. Nonetheless, the Quinoa dish was gladly guzzled and taste buds were satisfied! We ended off with a Cacao & Avocado Mousse.

It was a special evening and is always a privelege for me to meet such lovely people and share my MS diet story and way of eating.

Onto the recipe! It's in two parts. You'll want to start by putting the quinoa into boil and while it's cooking, move onto the pesto.

Quinoa Salad with Spinach & Basil Pesto

Serves: 3-4

Ready in: 15 min

Ingredients

1 ½ cups quinoa

¾ jar sun-dried tomatoes

100g rocket

1 head broccoli

sea salt

extra virgin olive oil

Create

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and place in a large saucepan with 3 cups of boiling water. Cook the quinoa on a low heat according to package instructions, usually 12-15 minutes.

 While the quinoa is cooking, separate the broccoli into small florets. Steam for 5 minutes until lightly cooked.

 Roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes.

 Check the quinoa is cooked and drain any remaining liquid if necessary.

 Place a serving of quinoa on each plate. Add broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and rocket. Drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste.

For the pesto:  

handful baby spinach

100g pine nuts

small handful cashew nuts

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

28g fresh basil

1 Tbsp dried oregano

Himalayan salt to taste

Put everything into the blender and blitz until smooth and well combined. This should take a minute or 2.

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