A spicy grain salad with a sweet element makes a really simple, enjoyable meal or side dish. I used to crave one like this from a deli called "On The Go" which used long grain rice and sweet currents seasoned with a moroccan spice of sorts. Using this idea I decided to throw together my own, substituting the rice for quinoa, and adding pumpkin, just because I love pumpkin.  The only difference, other than the pumpkin, was the consistency that the quinoa delivered. It's slightly more stodgy, although stodgy isn't quite the right word, than long grain rice. The pumpkin, too, became a little mushy after I'd worked the mix together, trying to balance flavours as I wasn't following a recipe at all. I really like it like this, but some people find it unappetizing. If you are one of those people, simply use rice instead! 

Quinoa is the new craze in terms of grains and healthy eating. It's higher in protein and lower in fat than most others. Its texture would make you think of it as something other than a grain- It almost seems more like legume of sorts. I love it, and I think that if you haven't tried it, you should! :)

Sweet and spicy is a well used combination of flavour, and I think that this salad really highlights this aspect. We ate this with cold rotisserie chicken we'd bought earlier that day, and it paired so well. The next day, we finished off the left-overs and as with most dishes like these, the flavours had intensified and it actually tasted better! 

Ingredients: serves 4
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 250g pumpkin, fairly finely diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp curry paste
- 1/3 cup flaked almonds
- 1/3 cup golden raisins, or currents
- 1/4 cup mango chutney
- juice of half a lemon
- salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/ 390ºF and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Transfer diced pumpkin onto baking sheet and toss in oil and curry powder. Then, place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, put 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa and turn heat down to a simmer, place a lid on the pot, and let cook for about 10-13 minutes.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, set it aside to cool, and do the same with the quinoa. Once cooled, transfer both to a medium sized bowl, add the curry paste, almonds, raisins, chutney, lemon juice and salt. Stir gently to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste if needed. 

Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

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