Quinoa has been a very fashionable grain for a few years now but it’s taken me a while to really embrace it. It’s a great ingredient to include in a vegetarian or vegan diet because it’s one of the few plant sources of ‘complete’ protein, that is protein that contains all of the essential amino acids (check out my post about the science behind protein for vegetarians for more details).
I’ve enjoyed quinoa when I’ve been eating out where it’s often an ingredient in ‘superfood salads’ but when I’ve cooked it myself I’ve found it a bit soggy. But practice makes perfect and I’ve now discovered how to cook it so it’s drier and fluffier and this roast cauliflower and aubergine quinoa recipe is a very satisfying way of serving it. If you don’t want to use quinoa, I’m sure it would be good with rice instead.
It’s important to rinse the quinoa well with cold water first to remove any bitter flavour and you need to use quite a fine sieve for this because the individual grains/seeds are tiny. I cook it in vegetable stock using 2.5 times liquid to quinoa, i.e. 125ml of liquid for every 50g of quinoa. Once the quinoa is cooked and has absorbed all the liquid, I like to leave it in the pan with the lid on for another 5-10 minutes. I also put a piece of kitchen towel (paper) between the pan and the lid and I think this helps to absorb any excess moisture.
The rest of this dish is cooked in a roasting tin in the oven and is very simple to do. It takes about an hour from start to finish but a lot of that time you can just chill out while the veg are happily roasting.
I use Prashad’s Garam Masala which is beautifully aromatic but you can use any garam masala or curry powder. They will all give the finished dish a slightly different taste but I’m sure they’ll all taste good.
I love this served with Patak’s Garlic Pickle – but then I could say that about a lot of dishes! If you like garlic and you like a bit of heat then I do recommend you try this pickle but I warn you, it’s quite addictive. (By the way, I have no connection to Patak’s – I just love this pickle!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 aubergine
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 120g quinoa
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 1 x 400g can of chickpeas
- 50g salted peanuts
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.
- Cut the onion and aubergine into chunks and the cauliflower into small florets.
- Put 1 tbsp olive into the base of a roasting dish.
- Add the onion, aubergine, cauliflower, sugar, garam masala, turmeric and chilli flakes.
- Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over the top and mix well.
- Cover with foil and roast for 35 minutes, stirring half way through.
- While the vegetables are roasting, put the quinoa and vegetable stock into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently with a lid on for 15-20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Leave to stand with the lid on until you need it.
- After 35 minutes, take the foil off the vegetables, stir in the drained chickpeas and return to the oven uncovered for a further 10 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked quinoa and peanus and serve.
- If you're lucky enough to have any leftovers they reheat well the next day. Store leftovers in the fridge and then heat them in a dry frying pan stirring frequently until all of the veg is hot right through.