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I love broad bean season, as it’s one of my favourite foods to eat fresh.  If I get large enough pods, I like to take the inner skins off, leaving a lovely bright green bean, which looks so good in lots of dishes.

To take off the inner skin, just put the beans in boiling water for no more than five minutes, cool, then pinch the grey outer skin off the bean.  They require no more cooking.

The quantities are vague here, so feel free to use as much of anything as you have!

This simple salad recipe makes a great lunch by itself, a delicious filling for jacket potatoes or pitta bread, or as a side dish to a more substantial meal.  It’s highly nutritious too, full of protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc

Quinoa Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
large handful of broad beans, podded and skinned as above
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp dried herb, such as oregano
1 tblsp olive oil

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 5 – 10 minutes.  Drain off any excess liquid.  While still warm, mix in the herbs and olive oil.  When cool stir in the beans and tomatoes.

If you want to serve this as a hot dish, briefly put the beans and tomatoes into the quinoa at the end of cooking, then stir in the oil and herbs as before.

Sometimes our veg box delivery throws up some real gems.  Last week it was this colourful collection with harlequin squash and purple carrots.  I wanted to roast the squash, as that is not only the easiest way to prepare squash, but also really brings out the subtle flavours, enhances the gorgeous colour of the flesh and has the added bonus of a dramatic looking dish at the end of it! I also figured a light touch was required to make the most of these fabulous ingredients so decided on quinoa as a filling, although risotto rice would work well too.

Don’t forget the seeds of the squash, as they’re bursting with nutrients and make a delicious snack or addition to the meal in their own right.  In this instance the seeds roast in lemon juice and sprinkled over the finished dish, which was then served with roast purple carrots.

Harlequin Squash Stuffed with Lemon Infused Quinoa

1 harlequin squash
1 cupful quinoa
2 cupfuls water
1 lemon, juice and grated zest
Fresh ground black pepper

For the seeds

Saved squash seeds
1 tblsp olive oil
1 dstsp lemon juice
Sprinkling of sea salt

Cut the squash in half and remove the stalk.  Scoop out the seeds and keep them to one side.  Roast in an oven 175C / 350F /  gas 4 for approximately 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft.

Meanwhile prepare the quinoa by cooking with the water for around 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.  Just before the end of cooking add the grated lemon zest and the juice, keeping enough juice to use for the seeds.  Add some salt and black pepper.

For the seeds:  wash the seeds from any flesh and pick out the plumpest seeds, discarding any small flat ones.  Put the seeds on a roasting tray and coat with the oil.  Put in the oven with the squash.  After about 10 minutes as the seeds are beginning to brown sprinkle them with the lemon juice and salt, mix thoroughly and pop them back into the oven for further couple of minutes until the seeds are browned.

When the squash are cooked, pile the quinoa mixture into the centre of the squash, sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve with roast vegetables.

Lemon Roast Squash Seeds


What is there not to love about quinoa?  It is high in protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and fibre as well as being gluten-free and easy to digest.  It’s lighter than rice or couscous, so makes an ideal summer lunch or side dish.  This salad is quick and simple to make, so can form a part of any midweek meal.  I had this as a side to a tofu burger, so I really topped up on protein!  I then added a little watercress on the side for a gorgeous contrast in colours.

Lovely Qunioa Salad

 Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 avocado
1 clementine
2 spring onions
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1tsp dried mixed herbs like basil and oregano

Cook the quinoa in the water for about 15 minutes and leave to cool.  Peel the avocado and cut into small pieces.  Peel the clemetine, removing as much pith as possible and divide into segments.  Chope the spring onions.  Mix all with the quinoa

Make the dressing by shaking the oil, vinegar, mustard and herbs in a jar.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix well.

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