Rainbow Vegetable Quinoa

This is an amazing healthy, quick and simple meal that I often cook for my boyfriend and I after a heavy weekend as a vain attempt to get something nutritious into our bodies. As with all my recipes, this serves 2 for dinner. However there should be plenty left over, which is great as this makes a really wonderful packed lunch for work which can then be either be reheated or eaten cold. 

The quinoa is packed full of protein which makes this a really wholesome dish despite the lack of meat, fish or dairy. This makes it an especially great dish for me as I often struggle to think of exciting vegan dishes- in our house no meat often means it ends up being replaced with cheese, cheese and more cheese- but this one is incredibly hearty and really hits the spot. If you just can’t go vegan for the evening, this also works really well as a side dish for a nice bit of meat or fish. 

The  abundance of colour here is also what makes this such a healthy meal; nutritionists suggest that when aiming to get in your five a day one should try to encompass as many different colours as possible as they all have different health benefits. To give this rainbow dish an even further kick of colour I sometimes serve it with a crisp salad featuring some shredded red cabbage on the side. 

Ingredients 

150g quinoa

1 heaped teaspoon vegetable boullion

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 onion- diced

3 cloves garlic- crushed

1 carrot- finely diced

green beans- very finely chopped

peas- approx 120g/ large handful

red pepper- finely diced

yellow pepper- finely diced

1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

1/3 teaspoon paprika

handful chopped fresh parsley

Method

Fill and boil the kettle and prep your veg. I’d suggest starting with the harder veg- the onion, carrot and green beans- as they will need to cook for longer than the peppers and peas, which can be thrown in during the last 5 minutes.

Once the kettle has boiled and you have most your veg prepped, fill a non-stick sauce pan with 350ml water before stirring in the boullion and tomato paste until combined. Rinse your quinoa thoroughly under cold water in a sieve to remove impurities. Keep the liquid boiling on a medium temperature and add your quinoa. Bring to the boil and then turn right down to simmer with a lid 3/4 of the way over the top. The quinoa should absorb all of the liquid so that it doesn’t need draining at the end but if during cooking time it starts to look like it’s drying out and might catch on the bottom just add a little more boiling water. Allow to cook for 15 but meanwhile get on with the vegetables.

Heat a little coconut oil (or other of your choice) in a deep frying pan and saute the onion and garlic for a minute or so before adding the carrot.

Continue to cook for a couple of minutes before adding finely chopped green beans , and then cook the mixture (whilst stirring) on a medium to low heat for approximately 5 minutes until soft and almost done. Whilst this is cooking finely dice your peppers so they are ready to go. At this stage, take your peas and if frozen just pop them into a sieve and pour boiling water over them to defrost. Add your dried herbs, paprika and peas, together with the peppers, to the pan and sauté for a further couple of minute until all the veg is done. Turn the heat off.

Your quinoa should be just about done by now (you can tell it is cooked through by checking whether the germ has come away from the kernel) so once it is, turn it off and fluff it up using a fork.

Return the vegetable mixture to a low heat and add the cooked quinoa, stirring to thoroughly combine, before throwing in the parsley and giving the whole lot a final mix. I often add a squeeze of lemon at this stage but this is totally optional. Serve up and enjoy! It’s great with a bit of chilli sauce too.

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