Embrace the quinoa!

Quinoa, that word that is ridiculously tricky to pronounce, yet the stuff is everywhere.

In salads, in dinners, even in snack bars!

Why? Because is it really good for you! Really!

  • It is a great source of protein, and as it is a plant you can cut down on the animal protein a bit which is always good for your health.
  • It is contain all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs. You body cannot make amino acids, it needs to get them from food. Quinoa is a complete food in this sense.
  • It is not a grain, but a seed, so behaves like a grain or a carb, a great substitute for rice and pasta!
  • It increases stamina, now what you do with that stamina is entirely up to you!

I think people shy away from it because they don’t know how to cook it or what to do with it, so here is a great recipe that can be used in a variety of ways, hot and cold.

As with all my recipes, it starts with a whole load of veg. This time I used 2 yellow pepper, an orange pepper, a green one and a handful of mushrooms. But you can pretty much put anything you like in, the more colourful the better!

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The magic in this recipe isn’t actually the quinoa, but sundried tomatoes. They come in a bit later, but to begin with, open the jar and tip a little of the oil into the pan with the veg as it gives it a delicious twist.

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Cook for a few minutes until starting to soften. Whilst that is on, cook the quinoa as per the instructions on the packet. A first glance in the supermarket quinoa is quite expensive, but a packet goes a long way. You can buy it ready made, but that is even more expensive and it is very easy to cook. You will need a traditional metal sieve rather than a colander though as the grains are so small they fall through the holes!

This is what it will look like when cooked. There should be a bit of a bite to it, but not a crunch and not mushy either!

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Next are the weird and wonder sun dried tomatoes. It may seem like you are putting a shrivelled up piece of yuck into your dinner and sometimes they even appear mouldy, but believe me when I say that these little gems are a power house of taste!

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Chop them up into chunks and add them to your vegetable mix and give them a few minutes to soften up and the veg to absorb their flavour. At the same time add some halved cherry or baby plum tomatoes, a good handful is about the right amount. I tried this recipe with bigger tomatoes and tinned chopped tomatoes and it was ok, but better with the little fresh ones.
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Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetable mix, season and you are done! It really is that easy!

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We had this cold as a BBQ side in the summer, it makes a great lunch as you can have it hot or cold. Our favourite way to eat it as a family though is to add chopped sausages to it and have it as a comforting dinner. There isn’t a photo of that, as we ate it so quick I forgot to take a pic! Maybe next time!



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