Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Quinoa salad

Quinoa is grown in the Andes and has shot to fame–though how to pronounce it is still a question. We’ve settled for keen-wa (sometimes I revert to keen-o-wa!). It comes in a number of colours though so far I’ve only seen red and white and has a reputation for being easily digested. It is gluten free.

A salad for all seasons this. Light and fluffy white quinoa is laced with thinly sliced red onion and flavored with lemon juice, olive oil, mint and parsley.

It looks good on a favourite plate and has surprising depth of taste.


It’ll feature in my new book, Healthy Eating for Life (to be published in January 2014).

Serves four

1 cup/6oz quinoa (white preferably, for the look)

2 cups/12 floz vegetable stock—I use organic vegetable stock cubes

1 small bunch each parsley and mint–chopped

Half a small red onion—sliced thin

1½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a saucepan over a low heat and pour in the quinoa.

Let it dry roast for 5 minutes–stirring all the time.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook for about 20 minutes–until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid and has puffed up.

Set aside to cool.

Add the oil and lemon juice to the cooled quinoa and stir in with a fork.

Fold in the mint and parsley, again stirring them with the fork.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the salad to a pretty plate.

Sprinkle with some more mint and parsley.

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We had these last night with quinoa, plain green beans, and garlicky yogurt sauce.

It’s adapted from a recipe by Rick Stein–known as the uncrowned king of Cornwall.

When we were filming Poldark in Cornwall 35 years ago, eating out in the county was very different from what we experienced last weekend and Rick Stein has a lot to do with it.  His fish restaurants in Padstow have set a benchmark. Things have improved!

We tried to reserve a table at one of Rick’s places a couple of weeks before our trip but they were all booked–sad for us but “Hooray” for Cornwall!

for 2+

500gms/1lb aubergines–cut up into smallish pieces (quicker to sauté), lightly salted and left in a sieve or colander for an hour to drain off their liquid, then dried ready for the pan. (This seems tedious to do but they absorb less oil this way.)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1” square piece of fresh ginger--chopped fine

3 garlic cloves–pulped with half a teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of water

2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds–crushed

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

500gms/1lb tomatoes–chopped with their juice (or use tinned)

3 more tablespoons of water

  • whizz the ginger and garlic in a tablespoon of water to form a loose paste.
  • heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan that you can cover.
  • when hot, add a single layer of  the dry aubergine pieces.
  • turn them in the oil and sauté on all sides until nicely browned–a pair of cooking tongs comes in handy here–then set aside. (It’s worth taking your time to make sure the aubergine is cooked through.)
  • continue the process until all the aubergine pieces are cooked, adding more oil as needed.
  • let the pan cool a little before heating two tablespoons of oil and adding the fennel and cumin seeds.
  • let them colour for a few seconds before adding the ginger and garlic paste.
  • cook this gently for a minute or two before adding the coriander, turmeric and chili powder.
  • cook this gently for a minute before adding the tomatoes and the extra water.
  • turn the lovely looking mix over and cook on a low heat for ten minutes to form a sauce.
  • add the aubergine pieces turning everything over thoroughly before covering the pan and cooking for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
  • test the doneness of the aubergines, cooking them a little more if necessary, adding a little more water if  needed.
  • check the seasoning and sprinkle some chopped mint, fresh coriander, or parsley over the dish before serving.

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This seed is a useful alternative to rice. It is grown high up in the Andes–and no one seems to agree on how to pronounce it!

It serves as a plain canvas on which you can paint what you like.

It takes less time to cook than rice and is delicious in its own right or, as below, mixed with  sautéed vegetables.

It takes well to steamed  green vegetables, like broccoli dressed with good olive oil or sprinkled with crunchy nuts such as dry-roasted walnuts.

Crumbled feta or goats cheese is good too.

Here you can learn more about the benefits of Quinoa–perhaps more than you want to know!

Quinoa with sautéed vegetables

for 4

8oz/250gms quinoa

1 pint/2 cups/16floz of vegetable stock–I use organic stock cubes.

Cook this gently, covered, until you can fluff it up with a big fork–about 15-20 minutes.

quinoa cooking in stock


Gently sauté together:

4 tblsp olive oil

1 medium onion (red or yellow)–chopped fine

1 clove garlic–chopped

small red pepper–seeded and chopped into small dice

1 small chilli–chopped

1 small courgette–chopped into small dice

1 medium ripe tomato–peeled, seeded and chopped into small dice

Sauté them until soft.

vegetables gently sautéed

Add this mix to the cooked quinoa.

Add salt and pepper to taste–though be careful with salt, as the stock may be salty.

Allow the flavours meld.

cooked quinoa with veg mixed in

If you have some, sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped parsley.

Mix all together carefully and eat it hot or tepid.

(You can steam the quinoa for a couple of minutes to re-heat.)

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