This quinoa salad is essentially the child of attempting to empty both the pantry and the fridge. As a result of various recipe tests/impulse supermarket purchases, the produce drawer of the fridge was overflowing, leaving Mother very stressed (she hates when the fridge is full?) and me feeling wasteful. I threw all the veg in the oven, and rustled through my excessive spice collection to stumble upon my ras-el-hanout, which I went through an obsessive phase with, and subsequently forgot about. Looks like I'm back for round two.
Anyway, I threw it together, offered some to Mum as though I had made it as a kind gesture to her, and she v much enjoyed it. Try as she might, I've mastered the art of decoding her 'I'm mostly being nice' reactions to food, versus her genuine enjoyment reactions, so from her enthusiastic look and adjectives, I could tell I was onto something.
The base of this dish is somewhat similar to one I've made before, except ironically this version is more wintery. Ironic, mainly, because I'm sitting breaking into a sweat as I type. Creativity strikes when creativity strikes amirite
4 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
300g pumpkin, chopped into small cubes
2 zucchini, sliced
1 red capsicum
Punnet or vine of cherry tomatoes
Handful of spinach
Olive oil and seasoning, for the roasted veg
Feta, to serve
Toasted pumpkin seeds/slivered almonds, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Chop all your veg, and when the oven is ready, place the zucchini and pumpkin in, covered with oil and table salt, and cook for one hour, or until golden brown.
3. Repeat with the tomatoes and capsicum - they should only need 20 minutes to half an hour.
4. While the capsicum and tomatoes are cooking, take a medium saucepan and turn it to a medium heat. Melt the butter, and add the spices and salt when it's melted. Cook for a few minutes until it becomes aromatic, and then add the quinoa.
5. Cook the quinoa grains with the spiced butter for a couple of minutes, until all the quinoa has been well coated and the butter is starting to 'melt' from the quinoa. Add the three cups of water, and turn the heat to high.
6. Stir the quinoa intermittently, ensuring it is cooking evenly and not sticking to the bottom. Make sure you keep the lid on when you're not stirring, as it tends to spit. Keep going until the liquid has mostly all cooked into the quinoa, and then take it off the heat, pop the lid on, and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the handful of spinach a couple of minutes in, to wilt it naturally in the steam.
7. Put the quinoa and roasted veg in a large bowl, and stir gently to combine. You can add the feta and nuts here to disperse them through the salad, but for #aesthetics, pop them on top and serve.