With December looming around the corner, I am on a plight to eat a wee bit better for a bit. Make sense? It is my kind of logic you see. So, in the lead up to Christmas I try to eat lean so I can over indulge for the very merry festive season! Yes, that is my kind of logic..ha! Mind you, I don't always succeed. Tomorrow you just might be seeing a chocolate cake, or some other luxurious dive into dessert. I do lack self control.
In the meantime, if you are looking for something packed with goodness, easy to make, healthy and a meal in one, this might just work. This Mediterranean Quinoa is a take on my Roasted Vegetable Couscous. But without the gluten for those of you who have those types of intolerances. And to boot, this quinoa has a secret little dressing for extra flavour. Check it out!
Quinoa is one of those foods that I was late catching on to. It wasn't available mainstream around here until just last year. Yes, you could buy it at certain health food stores, but at a pretty penny. As I try to be as frugal as I can, no quinoa for me. But when a local supermarket starting stocking it for a reasonable price, into the basket it went.
Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, high in fibre, high in iron, gluten free and so much more. It cooks quickly and can be added to so many dishes. It is a great substitute for couscous if you do happen to be gluten free. If you are not gluten free, it is just a tasty and nutritious grain to try out. I have come to love the stuff after not being overly keen on my first try. That might of had something to to with too much liquid in the cooking process. It was stodgy and just, um, disgusting. After several attempts, quinoa perfection.
In this recipe I used already cooked chickpeas. If you are planning to soak and cook your own, you will have to do it in advance as they take quite a long time to soak and cook. I usually try and do a big batch and have them on hand. I have found, surprisingly, that they freeze really well. I never thought they would, but they do! So, I usually do a big bag once a month or so and put them all in the freezer to use when I like. I would add, that if you are doing this, do not microwave them. Just let them them thaw naturally on the counter top.
On of the big flavours in this dish comes from the very simple dressing. With the addition of olive oil. lemon and honey the flavours go up ten fold. I honestly don't think I could get by without olive oil and lemons. Easily in my top 5 of most used ingredients.
Delicious hot or cold and a great one of keep in mind for pot luck dinners and family gatherings. Go on, give it a try!
Serves 6 / Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 40 minutes
1 Cup/185 grams quinoa
2 Cups/480 ml Vegetable stock
1 Red pepper, diced
1 Zucchini, diced
1 Cup/165 grams chickpeas, cooked
Small bunch fresh chopped parsley
Juice of one lemon
1 Tablespoon honey
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Teaspoons sea salt, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put the red pepper and zucchini in a roasting tin. Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast for about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the vegetables are roasting, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the quinoa and stir for about 2 minutes. Add all the stock, reduce heat to low and cover. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
After the quinoa has cooled for a few minutes, use a fork to start separating it. Start from the top and work downwards until you have all the quinoa fluffed up and separated.
Make the dressing by combining the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, honey and salt. Stir well.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, vegetables and chickpeas. Pour over dressing and parsley. Stir really well to combine and serve.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Julia and I have a passion for wholesome fresh food. Here you can find what's cooking in my Spanish kitchen, with inspiration from my Newfoundland roots!
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