Prawn and quinoa salad with pistachios and mint

King prawn and quinoa salad with pistachios and mint.
King prawn and quinoa salad with pistachios and mint. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Prawns are often a well-loved feature on Christmas Day menus, but this salad with quinoa, pistachios, mint and bright jewels of lemon really elevates the offering


250g white quinoa, washed

1tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp olive oil

20 cooked Australian king prawns

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

10 grinds of freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp flaked salt plus more to taste

2 tsp sugar

2 large purple shallots, thinly sliced

3 tbsp of quality mayonnaise

1 tbsp yoghurt

30g of shelled pistachio nuts

2 lemons, peeled, segmented and diced

1/2 bunch mint, picked


1. In a medium pot, add the quinoa and cover with water by 2 centimetres. Add the cumin and simmer for 10 minutes, then drain well and set aside.

2. Take 4 tablespoons of the cooked, drained quinoa and fry in a couple of tablespoons of oil, tossing for 10 minutes over medium heat to crisp up, then drain on kitchen paper.

3. Peel and chop half the prawns. Peel the body of the remaining prawns leaving the head and tail on.

4. In a large bowl add the vinegar, cayenne, pepper, salt, sugar and sliced shallots and mix with your fingers to soften the shallots. Let stand for 5 minutes.

5. Add the mayonnaise and yoghurt to the bowl with the shallots and mix. Add the remaining quinoa and chopped prawns and combine to a a loose consistency. Add more yoghurt and mayo if too dense.

6. Tip the quinoa onto a platter and arrange the peeled prawns around, scatter with the pistachios, lemon and mint and top with the crispy quinoa.

Tip: Most imported quinoa comes prewashed. However, to be safe, it is always good to wash quinoa, as you would rice, before cooking as it has an unpleasantly bitter outer coating.