Fresh Fig, Ricotta and Black Quinoa Salad | Melissa Hemsley
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Fresh fig, ricotta & black quinoa salad

Salads and Small Plates

Fresh fig, ricotta & black quinoa salad

I love this with either fresh figs when they’re in peak season or roasted figs, when I want my salad to be warm (and it can also bring out the best in a disappointing fig). Black quinoa (or red) isn’t as abundant as the white (pearl) variety in shops but it’s worth seeking out and it makes the autumn colours pop. Just keep in mind that it takes a few extra minutes of cooking. This is also a nice easy quick way of using up leftover cooked quinoa and turning it into a special salad. Figs and ricotta are relatively expensive compared to other fruits and cheeses but a little goes a long way and, remember, this is a celebration salad. I like the peppery rocket here but any green leaves work and any herbs but the first time I ever tried a fig was with basil, so I’ve picked it here.

Photography: Anna Lisle


  1. Start by steaming the quinoa. Place washed and drained quinoa and 1L of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Uncover, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat. Watch the nuts closely as they burn quickly.
  3. Once the quinoa has cooked and cooled but still warm, add to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, honey and lemon and generously season to taste.
  4. Spread rocket on a large platter and top with quinoa, ricotta and figs. Scatter with basil leaves and toasted pine nuts and then drizzle with a little extra honey. If making ahead of time, add the rocket just before you serve.


  • 500g (black ideally) quinoa, rinsed well and drained (or ideally soaked for 8 hours and rinsed)
  • 1L water
  • 100g pine nuts
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp (truffle) honey or maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling
  • 4 tbsp lemon, about 1 juicy lemon
  • 120g rocket or lambs lettuce
  • 400g soft ricotta
  • 10 small figs, halved or quartered and roast if it’s a cold day
  • 30g basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, to serve

My Cookbook

  • Emma Turnbull
    Posted at 09:50h, 03 October Reply

    For how many does this recipe serve?

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