Over the past couple of years it seems as though the entire would has gone quinoa crazy – that is, except my kitchen. The way people rave on about the tiny seeds you’d think they’d saved everyone’s dear old mother from a fate worse than death. However, despite being annoyingly miniscule and susceptible to static (rendering their transportation from one vessel to another unreasonably difficult) quinoa is both delicious and wonderfully nutritious. A good source of complete protein, quinoa was a fundamental part of pre-Colombian Andean civilisation – the Incas, for instance, thought it sacred.
In all honesty, I received this bag of quinoa in the post from the lovely Somer, the curator and vegan enthusiast of Vedged Out. Consequently, I’ve still not bought or even picked up a bag of the stuff at a supermarket. Somer knew that quinoa had never graced the virtual folds of frugalfeeding, so she took it upon herself to perform a stroke of comic genius and post me a bag all the way from America in a move that was FAR from frugal. Still, since your quinoa is unlikely to be personally mailed to you across the Atlantic, it has been assumed that using it is perhaps frugal, particularly considering its nutritional value.
Being somewhat similar to other grain-like ingredients (couscous, bulgur wheat and barley) quinoa is impressively versatile. It can be used well in a variety of dishes such as Tabbouleh, as well as more hearty bowls of food such as this. Indeed, most grains or small pastas are virtually interchangeable in every dish, with each grain bringing a small twist to the flavour party. Quinoa, for instance, is a rather nutty seed with a somewhat distinctive flavour and texture. This uniqueness alone makes it a worthy addition to every pantry – do you have a favourite way to prepare quinoa?
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
• 150g quinoa
• 2 courgettes, finely chopped
• Half a butternut squash, cubed
• 2 red onions, roughly sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 3 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (mint, parsley, coriander, basil)
• 1 tsp whole cumin seed
• 1 tsp whole coriander seed
• 30g butter (or oil if vegan)
• Salt and pepper
1. Chop and pop the squash and red onions in the oven at 170C until soft and browned. Rinse your quinoa thoroughly and simmer for 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sauté the courgettes and garlic in a pan with the butter and a little olive oil (this stops the butter burning). Toast your seeds, grind and add them along with the cooked quinoa to the courgettes, followed by the roasted vegetables and fresh herbs. Season liberally and enjoy thoroughly.
Cost: Quinoa isn’t the cheapest seed/grain on the market. However, if you shop around you can find it for a reasonable price. The lowest I’ve seen is around £1.30 for 300g. As such, this is a rather frugal affair and can be made for no more than £2.50.