Quinoa is not actually a grain, but a grain-like seed hailing from South America! Not only does it have a delicious nutty flavour, but it’s healthy, too. It makes a great alternative to rice, millet or other grains.
It pairs well with a wide range of flavours, and it cooks in under 30 minutes! Cook up a big batch and store it in the fridge for easy meals. It will freeze and needs heating thoroughly and fluffing up.
To use as a side dish you can simply add salt, pepper, lemon or lime juice, and a drizzle of olive oil. For more flavour add chopped herbs, crushed garlic, toasted nuts, or crumbled feta cheese.
Quinoa must always be rinsed before cooking. If you don’t wash the quinoa, you may notice a bitter note from a natural coating on the grain called saponin. All you need to do is place the quinoa grains in a sieve and rinse for about 30 seconds under cool water. Shake off the excess water and transfer the grains to your pan.
Quinoa can be difficult to get the right ratio of water to grain and I have found success after much trying! …. that 300ml water to 175g quinoa gives the right texture and you don’t end up with a pan of mush!!
Adding a variety of colours, flavours and textures to quinoa makes a nourishing, healthy and filling meal which can be served hot or cold. I like to sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and some parmesan flakes.
Spicy Seven Vegetable Quinoa
- 300 ml water
- 175 g quinoa
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1/2 red pepper diced
- 1/2 orange pepper diced
- 6 to tomatoes halved and slow- roasted
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp celery seeds
- 175 g chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 20 g butter
- 100 g green beans blanched
- 100 g frozen sweetcorn defrosted
- Rind of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Rinse the quinoa before cooking. If you don’t wash it, you may notice a bitter note from a natural coating on the grain called saponin. Place the quinoa grains in a sieve and rinse for about 30 seconds under cool water. Shake off the excess water and transfer the grains to your pan.
- Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
- Sauté the onion and peppers in the olive oil until softened. Add to the quinoa and fold in.
- Sauté the sliced mushrooms in the butter until starting to brown off and add to the quinoa with the herbs, spices, lemon rind, green beans and corn.
- Slice the tomatoes in half again and add to the mixture. Fold gently and season.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
To serve as a main course add cooked diced chicken, king prawns or selection of cooked vegetables.