I love inventing new recipes at Christmas and this one is no exception so once you try my recipe for Christmas Quinoa you’ll know why! It has all the colours of Christmas with the cranberries, parsley and pomegranate with a hint of cinnamon so you’ll experience the feel-good-factor we normally feel at Christmas time when eating it…. This is perfect for having with your turkey and ham on Christmas day or preparing to serve with your left-overs when everything else has run out! But it is equally delicious eaten on it’s own.
Quinoa has got to be the most prepared dish in our household. Apart from the fact that it is so good for you what we love about it is once you prepare it, you realise it’s the spices and flavours that turn quinoa from a bland dish into a simply amazing dish! The problem is if it is cooked in just plain boiling water it can taste very bland so a lot of people have been turned off quinoa from the moment they taste it. But I’m going to change all that for you right now with this recipe! I’ve converted a lot of friends who were convinced they didn’t like it… “Oh no way, I’ll never like quinoa”, Oh you’ll never make it taste good” to ” this isn’t the quinoa I’ve tasted before”, “this is definitely not quinoa” to “quinoa is now my favourite food in the world”. Even my children have converted some of their friends in the lunch halls (takes a lot of convincing with some kids!)
Click here to go straight to the recipe.
Now here’s where you find out how healthy it is for you…. even though quinoa is considered a grain, it is actually more closely related to the spinach and chard families, which are high in amino acids. They are also high in magnesium, manganese, iron, and Vitamins B2 and E and high in protein which is perfect for a vegetarian and vegan diet. It is also high in dietary fibre.
The best way to cook quinoa is to rinse it in a sieve to remove any bitterness caused by left over saponins (natural compounds). Add one part quinoa to 2 parts of water or fresh stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Quinoa is so versatile it can used as a porridge for breakfast, for lunch and a snack and even as a dessert. It can be added to soups and used in baking (quinoa flour is ground quinoa).
So for my Christmas quinoa I wanted to incorporate the flavours of Christmas without being too overpowering. Here I use cinnamon and Chinese 5 spice with caraway seeds. Caraway seeds have a light spice flavour with a hint of a flavour of star anise and dried orange peel. They add a nutty texture to this dish and in my opinion adds to the whole dish. You should be able to find them in most spice shops and supermarkets, however, a nice alternative is cumin seeds but we prefer the caraway. Cumin seeds have a hint of spice but are more spicy sweet and as we use tangerines in our dish caraway seeds are the perfect combination. And with tangerine and pomegranate this dish has all the flavours of Christmas.
To make the Christmas quinoa, cook the quinoa as above for 15 minutes. In a pan add the oil, spices and caraway seeds and cook for one minute until fragrant. Add the dried cranberries and vinegar which sizzle once added to the pan and then cook for 2 minutes to soften the cranberries. Add this to your quinoa along with the tangerines, pomegranate and freshly cut herbs.
This fabulous dish can be eaten hot or cold. Merry Christmas everyone xxx
- 300g quinoa
- 600ml vegetable stock or water
- salt (if using water)
- 130ml olive oil
- 70 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 200g dried cranberries
- 1 large pomegranate
- 3 tangerines, peeled
- bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- Rinse the quinoa.
- Place the quinoa in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the stock or water and salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the cinnamon, Chinese 5 spice and caraway seeds and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Cut the tangerine segments in half.
- Add the cranberries and vinegar and cook for a further 2 minutes to soften the cranberries. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the cranberry dressing to the quinoa and mix well.
- Add the pomegranate seeds, tangerine slices and chopped fresh parsley.
- Cumin seeds can be used instead of caraway seeds.
- Delicious with feta cheese added if eating as a main dish.