Quinoa is a true wonderfood. This gluten-free grain contains all 8 essential amino acids and is rich in calcium, making it a great choice if you’re following a gluten-free and also dairy-free diet. But many people think quinoa is hard to cook. The good news is that it isn’t. You simply need to use the right ratio of quinoa to liquid and make sure you don’t overcook it. You want it tender but not mushy – so stop cooking while it’s still in a discernible shape and then it will be delicious.
It’s good to add lovely flavours to quinoa. I developed this recipe around ingredients I know Zoe (my little 2-year old girl) loves, so that she would eat the quinoa, too. I added toasted pine nuts, raisins and chickpeas, and mixed these into stock-flavoured quinoa. And it worked – she ate masses. So now I’m feeling pleased that I’ve got some great nutrition inside her today!
* gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, seed-free, citrus-free
- 150g/5½oz/¾ cup quinoa
- 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup stock made with gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
- 50g/1¾oz/⅓ cup pine nuts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 230g/8oz/1 cup drained, tinned chickpeas
- 50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup raisins or sultanas
- 1 handful parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a low heat, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 15–20 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. If any water is left in the pan, drain the quinoa thoroughly through a sieve.
- Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry for 2–3 minutes, until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the pan and leave to one side.
- Pour the oil into the heavy-based saucepan and heat on a medium-low heat until hot. Add the onion and fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently, until just starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the quinoa is cooked, transfer to the heavy-based saucepan and add the pine nuts, raisins or sultanas, parsley and mint. Season lightly and stir thoroughly until well mixed. Serve warm or cold.