Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’) is a super nutritious and delicious grain that has become very popular over recent years. In fact, this small seed contains the most protein of any grain and is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, making it a firm favourite in vegan and vegetarian diets.
It’s easy to cook and once cooked has a slightly crunchy texture and mild, nutty flavour. I usually use it to substitute rice or couscous, and like to add it to soups and salads to make a more complete and filling meal.
If you’ve never tasted this grain before, try it in this quinoa salad with pesto and veg. It makes a great vegetarian meal, even for non-vegetarians, or a delicious side with grilled fish or chicken.
Quinoa salad with basil pesto & vegetables
250 ml quinoa, well rinsed
500 ml (2 cups) cold vegetable or chicken stock (or use cold water)
250 g butternut, cut in small cubes
½ large red pepper, sliced
125 g brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
100 g broccoli, cut in florets
30 ml basil pesto
30 ml balsamic vinegar
50 ml olive oil
10 marinated sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
10 black olives, pitted and sliced
a handful of pumpkin seeds
10 basil leaves, shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place quinoa with stock in an AMC 20 cm Low and heat over a medium temperature until the Visiotherm reaches the first red area. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. (When germ spiral is visible and quinoa is translucent).
- Meanwhile, heat an AMC 28 cm Chef’s Pan or 24 cm Fry Pan over a medium temperature until the Visiotherm reaches the first red area. Sauté butternut for a few minutes, then add peppers. Add mushrooms and sauté until liquid evaporates.
- Add 15 ml water to the unit with broccoli, cover and reduce heat to lowest setting. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are just cooked yet still crispy. Place in a large bowl and toss pesto through.
- Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar and add olive oil. Add to veggies with quinoa and rest of ingredients. Fork through, season to taste and serve at room temperature as a vegetarian meal or side dish.
- Substitute pumpkin seeds with roasted sunflower seeds.
- Replace quinoa with couscous. Soak equal amounts of couscous and hot stock for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- Find quinoa in health food stores, deli’s or the health section or with the grains in large supermarkets.