If you sweet on Superfoods then this recipe is a powerhouse of nutrition.
First things first, Quinoa (which is pronounced keenwah), it isn’t a grain. In fact is a relative of my other favourite supercharged ingredient, spinach. When cooked, Quinoa resembles couscous with a slightly al dente texture to it. As it cooks and tastes just like a grain it is wonderful for tired tummies that find grains difficult to digest.
While this humble dish is perfect for the occasional vegetarian in you, the addition of Quinoa is a wonderful source of protein to boot, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body requires for hormone and muscle production. Interestingly, Quinoa also contains magnesium, a wonderful mineral that allows muscles to relax…the perfect ingredient for dinner after a long and tiring day.
My favourite culinary herb is basil, by the way, you should really try this delicious pesto zoodle pasta dish whilst I'm on the subject… Pesto is a bonus for me as it is a highly antiseptic and antibacterial herb. Basil has traditionally been used as a digestive aid for upset tummies. Most herbs, given their pungency and intensity, often impart great healing properties; most if not all are wonderful internal cleansers.
For this reason, I make it a ritual to use my home grown herbs or buy fresh organic herbs every time I do a fruit and vegetable shop. It’s so easy to tear a few leaves here or there to garnish over your breakfast, lunch or dinner. And given our need to eat more raw green veggies, the simple act of garnishing with herbs takes you one step closer towards your journey in health, whole foods and healing.
To intensify the creaminess of this dish I’ve added the wonderful, deep orange hue of butternut pumpkin. The tangerine tone indicates another stellar property of this supercharged dish, carotenoids. Carotenoids are shown to protect against heart disease and can assist in preventing macular degeneration, amongst other wonderful things! To sweeten the deal, just a cup serving of butternut is almost half your daily need for vitamin C!
I like to dose my dish with generous servings of heart healthy fats. Taking a lead role in this incredible heart-warming dish are walnuts. With a handful of walnuts containing twice as many antioxidants as an equivalent amount of other common nut varieties, walnut will up-the-anti when it comes to nutrients and provide you with long lasting energy.
It’s such a simple dish to make too, just whip out your casserole dish, make a pot of tea and meditate on the swirling of quinoa, the browning of onions and the act of eating wholesome and good-for-you foods.
Quinoa with Winter Squash & Yellow Pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- ½ cup basil leaves torn
- 1 butternut squash peeled and chopped into 5 cm chunks
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2/3 cup yellow pepper, sliced
- 1/3 cup brown onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup raw walnuts
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Shredded coconut to garnish
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat
- Add garlic, yellow peppers and onion and sauté until browned
- Add squash and cook for about 10 minutes
- Meanwhile rinse quinoa thoroughly
- Stir stock, rinsed quinoa, walnut, coconut milk and salt and pepper into the pan
- Cover with a lid and reduce heat, simmering for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed
- Spoon into wide bowls and garnish with shredded coconut and torn basil