Have you ever tried harissa? It's a wonderful spice that adds so much flavour and a little spice to pretty much anything it touches. So today I'm bringing you this Harissa Spiced Quinoa with a little North African flare.
Where in the world is the time going and how is it the 4th of December already? I have been trying to get on here for days now with not a minute in sight. And I don't know why that is honestly because I have nothing to show for my missing time. I need an organizer for Christmas. And by organizer, I mean a genie in a bottle that pops out and organizes my life. Because right now, I'm not scoring high in that department.
Let's see. We are well into the first week of December and I have picked up only a small handful of Christmas presents. As in two. And that was done today I might add. I have kids and they expect presents so it has to be done. Normally, I have all my shopping done by now and sometimes even wrapped and put away ready for the old Saint Nick to pop in on Christmas Eve and spin his magic. This year, more stress and less magic.
Send help and a large bottle of wine.
How is everybody else doing during the mad rush season? And is it just me or is Christmas getting earlier and earlier every single year? I feel like a failure because Christmas hasn't hit my house yet, and when I turn to social media it looks like everyone has been ready since last year. What is happening? I never used to even dream of putting up decorations, never mind the tree, until mid December. Now it seems if you haven't done it all by lights out in November you're a total slacker. Or Grinch maybe. I got to get my jingle bells on and deck the halls.
That being said, we do have a Christmas tree. Okay, it's outside the house in a mesh bag, but we do have one. And can I just say hallelujah on that one!
In all the years I have lived here, here being southern Spain, I have never ever had problems getting a Christmas tree. We always have a real tree and usually get it the second week of December. One of the reasons I don't like to put the tree up too early is that I still want it to look "alive" come the big day. And let's face it trees plus wood fires don't really go hand in hand too well. So, I have always waited till as long as I could to get the tree up. Then we would get to enjoy it a bit before the festive time and it would still be perky come Santa's visit.
Well, last year, we took the annual trip to our local garden centre to get our tree a whole week early. I felt very organized. Unlike now, I might add! And there were tons and tons of trees, for snow white and the seven dwarfs! All the trees were my height!!! And if you're new around here or you don't know me, I would fit in well with the seven dwarfs.
Where in the world were the big trees? We were told all sold. I was not having a pint sized tree so I made about a half a dozen phone calls until I found a garden centre with a man sized tree!
And guess what? We found ourselves in the exact same predicament this year....ugggh! But as luck would have it the tree waiting outside my front door is a good head and shoulders over me. Happiness is a tall Christmas tree.
Now, who came for the quinoa?
Notes about the quinoa:
First and foremost and not to be skipped, dry fry the quinoa! I can't express how important this is to get a good end result. My first attempts at quinoa were all disastrous. It was an inedible stodgy mess. Yuck. Then I read somewhere that dry frying the quinoa will prevent this. And it worked like magic. I don't know the science behind it, it just works.
I served this hot as soon as it was cooked. But ate it the following day for my lunch all on it's own and it was great that way as well.
I only topped the dish with feta but you could add more if you like and stir it in for a more substantial dish. Also, I served this as a side dish to roasted chicken. But you could have it as a lunch or even a light dinner.
Now go and get your Christmas stress level out of control. Or in my case, drink wine and forget about it!
Happy cooking friends and I'll be back tomorrow with a super easy appetizer!
Harissa Spiced Quinoa
Serves 6 / Prep tine: 10 minutes / Cook time: 25 minutes
1 1/2 Cups/270 grams quinoa
2 Cups/480 ml vegetable stock
1 Cup/200 grams chickpeas, cooked
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small floretts
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthways and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons harissa paste
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 Teaspoon coriander
1/2 Cup/55 grams feta cheese, crumbled
Small bunch fresh chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower and zucchini on a large baking tray. Drizzle over olive oil and add the cumin and coriander. Stir well to coat completely. Roast for about 20 minute or until soft and golden.
In a large deep sided skillet set over medium heat, add the quinoa. Toss it around until it becomes aromatic and starts to pop, about 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and harissa paste. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and leave to cook for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving dish and add the roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Top with crumbled feta and fresh cilantro.
Can be served immediately or at room temperature.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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