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Sumac Spiced Goat’s Cheese, Beetroot and Quinoa Towers

Serves 5 
Takes 40 minutes plus overnight soaking 

This is a recipe in which steel towers (open ended metal rings 7cm in diameter and 6cm tall, see illustration below) are absolutely essential. 

The great thing about this recipe is that you can adapt and vary it according to what you have to hand. A combination of yellow and red beetroot works well, though we've done it with golden beetroot and purple carrot, which looked great, a sort of visual jokeThe real delight is how well the goat’s cheese works with the stock infused quinoa – it’s delicious

We sometimes use Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Vinegar instead of the cider vinegar. 

250g white quinoa, soaked overnight in water with 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
25g sunflower seeds, soaked overnight in water with a pinch of salt 
4 sprigs of lemon thyme, finely chopped 
150g soft goat’s cheese, plus extra to serve on top of the towers (we use Waitrose’s soft French goat’s cheese) 
500g carrots, coarsely grated 
500g raw beetroot, coarsely grated 
5 spring onions, white only, finely chopped 
4 sprigs of dill 
200ml of chicken stock or vegetable nage 
1 level tsp sumac 
1 level tsp powdered dried limes (optional) 
a squeeze of lemon juice 

½ tsp sumac 
4 tbsp groundnut oil (or half walnut, half groundnut oil) 
1 tbsp cider vinegar 
a squeeze of lemon juice 

Small bunch of watercress to serve 

  • Drain and rinse the quinoa. Bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan and add the quinoa and lemon thyme. Simmer on a medium heat for 12 minutes until it is tender with a little bite. Remove and allow to sit for two minutes, the stock should be absorbed by this time. If not drain in a sieve 
  • Stir in 150g of the goat’s cheese and add the sumac and dried lime powder. Season and adjust flavouring – you may need a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside 
  • Drain the sunflower seeds. Dry fry, stirring frequently until toasted. Set aside 
  • Make the dressing 
  • Now you are ready to assemble. Place a steel tower on each of 5 plates. Add 3 dessertspoons of grated carrot to each tower, pack down well and sprinkle with the spring onion. Add 3 dessertspoons of quinoa, pack down and sprinkle on some dill. Add 3 dessertspoons of beetroot, pack down and sprinkle with some sunflower seeds. Repeat 2 more times, finishing with the beetroot. Add a blob of goat’s cheese, the last of the seeds and, a sprinkle of sumac. Serve with the watercress and drizzle over the dressing