This is a first: never before have I been so ridiculously excited about such a healthy recipe – and a vegan one to boot! Quinoa bowls – they don’t sound much, but flavours and textures in this dish are just unbelievable.
Just imagine it: fluffy quinoa, the fresh flavour of al dente broccoli, soft chickpeas, crunchy pine nuts, and plenty of garlicky, lemony dressing… I’ll admit, this stuff barely made it into the bowl, which is a bit of an issue for a recipe titled ‘quinoa bowls’. But ‘quinoa eaten straight from the pan’ didn’t seem to have quite the same ring to it.
You could serve this quinoa recipe as a side dish, but actually it works great as a full meal too – the quinoa, chickpeas and pine nuts mean that these quinoa bowls are packed with protein. One big, warm, comforting bowl of protein. This is actually one of my favourite ways to make dinner when I have a fridge full of food but no inspiration of what to make – start with a grain or some other form of carb in a bowl (mashed potato, quinoa, rice, whatever), pile on whatever veggies you have in the fridge, and then add some form of protein (beans, chickpeas, nuts, cheese, etc). It always leads to an awesome dinner, but it’s rarely quite as incredible as these quinoa bowls were.
This dish is irresistible served warm or cold – even the leftovers that I left in the pan to cool down weren’t safe from me and my fork. So, you can either cook it fresh, or cook it in advance and pack it up for a picnic – I would quite happily eat these quinoa bowls for breakfast, lunch and dinner (in the same day).
- 100g quinoa
- 350ml vegetable stock
- 1tbsp oil
- 1 small leek, halved lengthwise and then sliced
- 150g broccoli, separated into florets
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 400g tin chickpeas, drained (240g when drained)
- 2tbsp pine nuts
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 3tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Black pepper
- Add the quinoa and the vegetable stock to a pan, and place over a low heat. Simmer gently, stirring regularly, until all of the stock has been absorbed, the quinoa is soft, and the spiral-shaped germ has detached from the quinoa. If the quinoa begins to dry up before it is fully cooked, just add a dash more water.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the sliced leek, broccoli and garlic. Cook over a very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the leek and garlic are soft and the broccoli is just tender but still has a bit of bite to it.
- Add the chickpeas, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- When the quinoa and vegetables are both ready, combine them, along with the pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh parsley and plenty of black pepper. Mix to combine, and serve warm or cold.