You’ve probably heard about quinoa as a superfood, or seen it in a salad at your local cafe. Quinoa is a nutritious, high fibre grain that is also a complete protein – it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, it is also gluten-free and full of vitamins and minerals.
We love quinoa because it has a lower glycemic index than other carbohydrates. This means that it takes longer to digest, providing a slower release of sugar into the blood. Higher glycemic index (GI) foods are quickly digested and can leave us hungry soon again after eating. While quinoa is lower GI, we recommend that you are still mindful of your portion size; as part of a meal, we suggest including 25g of uncooked quinoa, or roughly 75g cooked.
Our Mediterranean quinoa and vegetable recipe is a perfect combination, it is also a great way to help you reach your 5 a day target. As well as being a great vegetarian recipe, you might like to double the vegetable portion to add to other meals the following day. We particularly enjoy Mediterranean vegetables the next day with an oven baked chicken breast.
Recipe: Mediterranean quinoa
Prep and cooking time: 1 hour
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 120g quinoa
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 large aubergine, diced
- 2 courgettes, chopped
- 1 red pepper, deseeded & chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- Handful flat-leaf parsley or a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Put the stock, thyme, quinoa and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to low.
- Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until quinoa is cooked (i.e. tender and easily fluffed with a fork). Drain off any excess liquid, remove the herbs and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and aubergine and fry until lightly browned.
- Add the courgette and red pepper and dried oregano. Fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and salt & pepper and bring up to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for approx. 20 minutes until the aubergines are tender. Add 2-3 tbsp water if necessary to reduce the thickness of the sauce.
- Serve the vegetables on the quinoa and garnish with the remaining herbs.
Second Nature special tip:
Not only do the vegetables in this recipe freeze well, but they also go really well with any protein and grain. We love combining this recipe with a can of tuna and fresh herbs.