I know there are some true kale aficionados out there, but I am afraid I am not one of them. I quite like it, and I tend to like it more in the summer when I have a few good salad recipes I but it in, but I can struggle with it in the colder weather, when it still makes regular appearances in our vegetable delivery. Maybe it’s partly because I keep hoping I can get it in to things that my son will eat, even if that means hiding it. It used to be I would put it in frittatas now and again, but he seems to not be up for them as much these days, plus those also feel a bit more summery food so I haven’t really been feeling like them myself. This green quinoa bowl, however, while he went off it a little as he filled up (as happens with a few things) he did at least think it was yummy for a few bites and we certainly dug in very happily.
It is basically a type of warm salad, as I have made with rice before, but with lots of warming and tasty elements that make it both fit the cooler weather and give you a thoroughly tasty dinner. It works cold as well, such as for lunch the next day if you have leftovers, but there’s something about all the textures and flavors while they are still warm that is just delicious.
This salad might seem like it takes a while to cook, but most of the time you just leave things to cook so it really isn’t difficult or all that involved to make. Once you have the vegetables prepared for the oven, you just let them roast a while and can get on with other things.
The ‘green’ part is basically a thick, tasty dressing that you mix through the quinoa to give it both a great color and taste. There’s a delicious fresh citrus flavor that lightens up the whole dish and the tahini gives it a nice nuttiness. I can understand that the flavors might be a little too much for some if they are not quite the flavors you like, so if you want to try using a little less and see how you like it first, or else dilute it a little with some water or yoghurt, then feel free, but do try it as it is really tasty.
This dish works well as a vegetarian/vegan main dish but can also be paired up with meat to be a side dish instead – we had it with some grilled lamb chops and it was a lovely match. However you have it, I would certainly recommend giving it a try. And hey, it’s conveniently green if you are looking for creative ways to get green in your meal for St Patrick’s day!
'Green' quinoa bowl with roast sweet potato and tomatoes
- 4 oz cherry tomatoes 115g
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp thyme fresh or dried
- 1/2 red onion small, red best but sweet white or a large shallot instead fine
- 1 lb sweet potatoes 450g
- 4 oz kale 115g
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling on vegetables above
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1/2 orange juice and zest ie from 1/2 orange, approx 3-4tbsp juice
- 1/2 red pepper diced
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- Some feta optional
- preheat oven to 375F/190C.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise, lay in an oven dish open side up and scatter with salt, pepper, thyme, chopped garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
- Dice the onion small, peel and dice the sweet potatoes in approx 1in/3cm pieces and put both in another oven dish with some salt, pepper and olive oil.
- When oven has warmed, put both dishes in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take the kale leaves off the stalks and put into a pan of boiling water. Cook for about 2 minutes, drain and allow to cool.
- Squeeze the kale dry, chop slightly then put in a food processor with the olive oil, tahini, orange juice and zest. Pulse until fairly smooth.
- After 40 minutes, remove the tomatoes from the oven and add the diced pepper to the sweet potatoes. Cook for another 10-15 minutes. The pepper won't be really soft just softening.
- Meanwhile, put the quinoa and water in a pan, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the water has gone and the seeds have opened and have little 'curls'.
- Mix the kale dressing through the cooked quinoa, add the sweet potatoes, onion and pepper and mix. Add some of the tomatoes through as well.
- Serve the quinoa with the rest of the tomatoes over the top (they can break too much if all mixed in), and crumble some feta over, if you wish.
Try these other tasty ways with quinoa: