I only recently started to cook with quinoa.
To be honest, I'd never really tried it before until I tasted a quinoa salad at The Brew Lab, Edinburgh, and began to realise just how popular it was becoming as a key ingredient for salads or stews.
It's a species of grain-like crop with a high protein content and a good source of dietary fibre, magnesium and iron.
It's also a great gluten free substitute for couscous.
This dish is inspired by a light lunch I had in a great deli-style cafe on Portobello Road, London.
It's really tasty, full of good nutrients and very easy to make- plus it keeps well in the fridge unlike lettuce-based salads. It makes a delicious quick lunch or a perfect side salad for a dinner party.
1 cup quinoa
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 a large butternut squash
salt and pepper
approx. 150g chorizo
400g tin chick peas
large bunch of coriander leaves
juice of 1 lime
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Measure out your quinoa. As a general rule, I use 1 part quinoa to 5 parts liquid. In this recipe I used one mug full of quinoa and 5 mugs of hot vegetable stock made with boiling water and a vegetable stock cube. Cook the quinoa in the stock in a large pan with the lid on for 20-30 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.
Peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash. Chop into bite-size pieces. Put a pan of salted, boiling water on the heat until simmering and then parboil the squash for 3-4 minutes until tender when pricked with a knife.
Whilst the quinoa is cooking, cut your chorizo into thin slices.
Once the squash has become tender, drain it and put it on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a good seasoning of black pepper and roast in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Drain the chick peas and then put a pan on a high heat. Add a glug of olive oil and then fry your chorizo for 2-3 minutes until it starts to release its brilliant bright orange colour into the oil. At this point, add your chick peas and fry for a further 4-5 minutes until the chickpeas take on the colour.
Then take it off the heat and stir in the butternut squash.
Once the quinoa is cooked, drain it in a sieve and run under cold water to cool.
Chop the coriander leaves finely and then in a large bowl, mix the quinoa, fried chorizo, chickpeas and butternut squash with the coriander.
Next crumble in the feta cheese and mix well.Season with black pepper (you don't need extra salt as the chorizo and feta are quite salty).
Drizzle with olive oil and season with the juice of a lime.
Serve cold with a piece of chunky bread.