I'm a quinoa convert, no longer on the fence, I'm ready to shout QUINOA from the roof tops and you know what? it's one of those words which is just begging to be echoed from the highest mountain "Keen- wah, wah, wah!".
Technically speaking, quinoa is not a grain as it is derived from the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant, a close relative to spinach. I'd never heard of the Goosefoot plant before I learnt about Quinoa. It's not something that comes up in everyday conversation unless you're a botanist. Apparently some of the species in the genus have leaves that resemble the foot of a goose so that's where it receives its unusual moniker.
I love to use quinoa in my recipes as it's super healthy and a great source of protein and amino acids as well as containing vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, potassium, and riboflavin. Quinoa also provides your body with copper, zinc, magnesium, and folate, so it really is a nutritional feast and tasty too. Because of its unique versatility, you can use quinoa in casseroles, soups, stir fries and salads and it can be substituted for rice or grains in most dishes. You can even use it for porridge at breakfast time if you're so inclined.
If you want to give quinoa a toasted flavour and to create more depth to dishes, why not try dry roasting it in a pan before use?. Quinoa is readily available in supermarkets and not just in health food stores, which now makes it more accessible for anyone wanting to cook up a delicious quinoan delight.
This gorgeously lighter-than-traditional-risotto dish is a flavoursome, yet hearty meal and perfect for lunch or dinner or even a side dish. Supremely gnoshable and easy to throw together, you can mix and match the vegetables included to suit your personal taste, soiree or seasonal style. The lemon makes it zesty and with a burst of citrusy zing and the yeast flakes add to its nuttiness and provide a wonderfully cheesy taste and extra B vitamins too.
Here's all you'll need to be in quinoa heaven.
1 cup quinoa uncooked rinsed in sieve
1/2 cup hazelnuts or almonds optional roughly crushed (save a few whole for garnish)
2-3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 brown onion chopped
1/2 cup yellow zucchini chopped
4 TBS nutritional yeast flakes
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can chopped tomatoes no additives
I cup baby spinach leaves washed
I TBS freshly chopped rosemary, oregano, thyme
¼ cup fresh torn basil (optional)
1 TBS lemon zest
2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp Celtic Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Let's Get Cracking:
In a large saucepan sauté onion and garlic in EV olive oil on medium heat until translucent, stirring often
To the pan add yellow zucchini and nuts and cook for a couple of minutes until slightly browned
Push mixture to side of pan, add quinoa and stir for a minute until slightly crispy then mix
Turn up heat and over a few minutes gradually add stock or water to cover the quinoa, stirring consistently until all the quinoa is absorbed, add one cup at a time, letting each one absorb
Add tomatoes, and spinach, herbs and seasonings, lemon and zest and ACV
Cook for 10-15 minutes until quinoa is tender but still slightly al dente
Remove from heat and stir through yeast flakes and serve in earthenware wide mouth bowls
Garnish with nuts and basil and enjoy