Three lemon recipes: Zesty Quinoa Bowl, Lemony leeks, preserved lemons

It’s Meyer lemon season, and in celebration of this New Zealand backyard stalwart we’ve created three tangy citrus recipes to add some zest to your winter menu.

Zesty Quinoa Bowl

Serves 3-4 as a side


½ fresh or preserved lemon
1 cup kale leaves, tightly packed
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup walnut halves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
15 snap peas
½ capsicum, finely sliced
50g haloumi, sliced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
1 cup cooked red quinoa


Remove and discard seeds from lemon. With flesh side up, run a veggie knife between the rind and flesh. Finely chop the rind and mash the flesh to a pulp. Keep separate and set aside.

Wash kale and discard tough stalks. Roughly shred leaves. Add most of the olive of oil to frying pan and heat over medium heat.

Add walnuts, kale leaves and garlic. Toss for several minutes. Add preserved lemon rind, snap peas and capsicum. Continue to sauté for several minutes, then reduce heat and cover with a lid.

In a separate pan, fry haloumi in remaining olive oil.

Add cumin, cayenne, salt, and pulped preserved lemon flesh to cooked quinoa. Mix well. Combine quinoa and sautéed vegetables in a serving bowl, then top with fried haloumi.


Substitute kale for baby spinach leaves, finely chopped silverbeet or shredded cabbage.

Preserved Lemons

Makes a 1-litre jar


½ cup coarse salt
6-8 lemons
Boiling water


Sprinkle a little of the salt in the bottom of a 1-litre jar. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each lemon, then cut into quarters, vertically, but not all the way through, leaving about 1cm at the base.

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Place lemons in a bowl and gently open to remove any seeds, then fill with as much salt as possible. Massage salt into flesh.

Transfer to the jar, compressing as you go to squeeze out some of the juice, but trying to retain their shape. Fill jar to overflowing with boiling water. Use a skewer or chopstick to remove any air bubbles.

Wipe the top of the jar, then seal. Store in a dark place for a month before using. To use, scrape out and discard the flesh, leaving only the skin, then slice finely.

Lemony Leeks and Thyme

Serves 4


1 medium leek, trimmed
1 bok choy
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh or preserved* lemon rind
1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
4 Tbsp water
50g feta, crumbled
½ tsp pink peppercorns, crushed
Thyme sprigs, to garnish


Cut white stem of leek in half lengthways, then into quarters lengthways, forming ribbons. Cut bok choy similarly. The outer bok choy layers with bulbous ends may need to be sliced several times.

Put the leek and bok choy layers into a bowl of cold water and rinse to remove any soil. Drain.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil, leek and bok choy ribbons, preserved lemon and thyme.

Toss to coat. Add water, lower heat slightly, cover and cook until tender – about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the pan and browning. Add more water
if necessary.

Transfer into a serving bowl. Scatter crumbled feta, sprinkle with pink peppercorns and garnish
with sprigs of fresh thyme.

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Don’t waste the green tops from the leeks – keep in an airtight bag in the freezer for veggie stock.

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