Leon cookbook cover Allegra

Leon is probably the best place in London to find a healthy, inexpensive and outrageously scrumptious lunch that can be eaten on the hoof, in a nearby park or at your desk. For three months, whilst I was fashion editing on a magazine based near Leon’s original Carnaby Street outlet, I ate the Original Superfood Salad at least three times a week. It’s that good.

One of only two dishes to have been on the restaurant’s menu since the beginning, it is packed full of nutritious deliciousness. Although it tastes green & summery, it feels especially good in the autumn and winter for warding off the lurgies.

Before the restaurant published its first cookbook, I messed about at home with approximations to it, but I always seemed to overcook the broccoli, forget an ingredient or two and I hadn’t got the dressing proportions correct.

So, imagine my glee when chef Allegra McEvedy, one of the founders, put together the official Leon cookbook, sensibly dividing it into a front half dealing with the importance of ingredients, and the back half packed with wonderful, simple Leon & Leon-inspired recipes.

The Original Leon Superfood Salad (Serves two)

2 tbsp quinoa
Salt and pepper
2-3 broccoli spears, cut into bite-sized florets, stalks sliced
120g frozen peas
Quarter cucumber, peeled,cut into slim batons
100g good-quality feta cheese, crumbled
1 handful of alfalfa sprouts
2 tbsp toasted seeds such as pumpkin, sesame and sunflower
½ avocado, cut into pieces
1 small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 small handful of mint, chopped
2 dsp lemon juice
4 dsp extra-virgin olive oil

Put the quinoa into a small pan. Cover with cold water to a couple of centimetres/one inch above the grain and let it gently simmer over a low heat until the water has evaporated — this takes about 15 minutes — then cool to room temperature.

Pour a couple of cms/one inch of hot water into another saucepan, add a pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil, drop in the broccoli & peas, cover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to take all the heat out and keep the broccoli good and green.

Now build your salad in layers: broccoli, peas, cucumber, feta, alfalfa sprouts, seeds, avocado, quinoa and finally the herbs. Only dress it with the lemon juice, oil and seasoning just before you eat it.

I would add here that I don’t usually weigh out any of the ingredients for this salad, being a) too lazy and b) preferring not to have chunks of excess avocado going brown in the fridge. Although I have made it correctly so I know how it’s supposed to look & taste, for me the beauty of it is that so long as you keep the ingredients the same, the proportions of the individual quantities don’t seem to matter so much. Oh & I just toss it all together.

Leon Original Superfood salad

This is the bowlful of goodness I made for JK’s and my lunch today. I used an entire avocado as I knew I’d never get round to using the other half. Likewise, the cucumber: I had a small American ridge cucumber (about half the size of a European hothouse one), and peeled, de-seeded* and baton-ed it all. As we had missed breakfast, I doubled the quinoa content. Oh and I halved the dressing as we had run out of olive oil.

*the seeds are much bigger and quite bitter compared to UK cucumbers

Click here to buy Leon: Ingredients and Recipes

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22 comments

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I'm obsessed by this salad! I don't think I can walk past a Leon without having one, it's that good and fresh and nourishing and TASTY!!! Thanks for the recipe although, for me, trying to get all the last little bits from the corners of my Leon carton box is part of the fun!x

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That's so funny, I just ate at Leon last Friday for the very first time and was planning on writing an entry soon! I loooooove Leon. Such a great London spot. Thanks for the Superfood salad recipe! Looks delish! xxx LZ

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This looks outstanding. I may have to make it.

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Jeeeeesus, the image of that salad is making my mouth water (and rue the fact that there's isn't a Leon within 5,000 miles of Chicago. Sigh).

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Did I just erase my comment? Need coffee…

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looks delish! xx

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This will be my next kitchen experiment. Thanks, LLG!

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This salad looks fantastic, I think I may just have it for lunch. Your blog is so nice and refreshing. You can check mine out at http://www.yourpocketstylist.blogspot.com

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Regardless of how good the recipes are I want the book because i LOVE the cover. How shallow am I?

PS – I'm not sure I can get Quinoa in Wales. Hmm. Could be tricky.

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Thanks for the recipe! As its coming into summer here in Autsralia, Ive been trying to find a new salad recipe thats both delicious and good for you! I htink this one will do just the trick!

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