Charlie Ngatai’s rice, quinoa & beetroot salad with goat’s cheese toast

This delicious recipe is from the newly released NZ Rugby Stars Cookbook, available from good bookstores now

Serves 4



  • 1–1½ cups quinoa–rice blend (consists of red quinoa, brown and black rice; or use white quinoa on its own) 
  • 500–600 g small or baby beetroot 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • ½ red onion, very finely sliced 
  • Good handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped 
  • 4 good handfuls of baby spinach or rocket leaves 


  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 

To serve:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • Toasted soft goat’s cheese for spreading 


  1. Place the quinoa–rice blend in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Place the beetroot in a single layer in a roasting dish. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Pour 250 ml cold water into the dish, then cover tightly with foil. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the point of a small sharp knife slips easily into each beetroot. 
  3. Leave the beetroot to cool a little. While they are still warm, rub the skins off and discard the skins. Cut the beetroot into wedges. 
  4. While the beetroot is roasting, cook the quinoa–rice blend. Drain off the water, and place the grains in a heavy-based saucepan. Add 1½ cups of water for every cup of dry grains used. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 22 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. The rice will have a slightly chewy texture. You don’t need to let it cool before using it in the salad. 
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. 
  6. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa–rice blend, beetroot, red onion, parsley and spinach or rocket leaves. Drizzle over the dressing and use a fork to gently mix the ingredients—you don’t need to be too fussy about this. Serve with toasted sourdough bread, generously smeared with soft goat’s cheese. 

CHARLIE NGATAI is one of the Maori All Blacks’ most experienced backs and a respected leader in the team. He plays Investec Super Rugby for the Chiefs and provincial rugby for Taranaki. Charlie also played one Test match for the All Blacks against Samoa in 2015. In early 2018 he signed a two-year contract with French club Lyon.

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