Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Lunch for One: Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Dad insightfully commented the other day that my cooking is either incredibly decadent, or very healthy - switching from one extreme to the next. He was right. Not only do I love rich desserts and adore eating baked goods fresh from the oven; my love affair with food has gone on long enough for me to realize that 'good', healthy food can be just as tasty and satisfying.

So today - spurred partly by guilt for being a little indulgent this past week - I made myself a hearty, filling bowl of slow-roasted veggies tossed together with that so-hot-right-now superfood otherwise known as quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). Not only that, I partly invented the recipe. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

I took the method for the quinoa from Kate Gibbs' recipe for Japanese Quinoa Salad from her book After Toast. I'm in love with this book right now, but working with what I had in the fridge led me away from this nori-jeweled dish and towards a more wintery meal. I used just a few different types of veggies (and each a different color to boost the nutrients in this dish), but you could mix and match to suit your taste and what's on hand.

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Serves 1, or 2 as a side

200g pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1-2cm cubes
1 tomato, cut into 8 chunks, deseeded
2-3 garlic cloves, whole, skin on
1 red onion, cut into eighths
1 small capsicum, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, or crema de balsamica
½ cup quinoa
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 handful (about 1 cup) fresh baby spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 160ÂșC. In a roasting tray, mix together pumpkin, tomato, garlic, onion, capsicum, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper Roast in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes until vegetables are dark and caramelized and pumpkin is soft.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting in their last 20 minutes, rinse quinoa in cold water, and drain well. Heat stock in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add quinoa. Cook for 10 minutes, until there is about ¼ of the liquid left. Add the spinach, stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted and quinoa is soft. If the pot runs dry before quinoa and spinach are ready, add a little more water or stock as needed. This will prevent the quinoa from burning. Remove from the heat.
  3. When vegetables are done, remove from the oven. Remove the garlic cloves from the orating dish and chop off the square, woody end. Squeeze out each garlic clove into the quinoa mixture by pinching the pointed end and running your fingers towards the other end which you cut. Mix the roasted garlic into the quinoa mixture. Mix the rest of the roasted vegetables into the quinoa until evenly combined. Serve immediately.

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