Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is considered a superfood. High in fibre and a complete protein, full of antioxidants such as those found in berries and completely gluten free. I don't eat it often, just like rice and other 'safe grains' like buckwheat and millet, I have it occasionally and it helps me stay on track if I feel like I need something different and it's also a great option when you first start cutting grains out. This Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin was originally a cous cous salad my friend Juliet used to make, I don't miss the cous cous at all and if you can't have quinoa you can try cauli-couscous instead. It is delicious!

Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
In case you're wondering, quinoa isn't considered paleo even though it is a seed and not a grain due to some anti-nutrient compounds such as saponin which can cause leaky gut. You can soak the seeds over night in a salt brine to reduce the anti-nutrients such as phytic acid which binds to minerals like iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium making them unavailable. Personally for me I'm ok with quinoa occasionally and this big bowl of quinoa salad with roast pumpkin was a hit over the weekend with my friends, I've been requested to make it again for our next bbq :)

Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin

Makes: a big bowl! great for bringing a dish to share (approx 4 full size servings if you want it as a meal)
Prep time: 20 mins (overnight if you wish to soak the quinoa)
Cook time: 40 mins  (you can roast the veggies the day before to save time)

You will need:
  • 1 kg pumpkin (peeled & diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed until water is clear (preferably soaked overnight with 1 tbsp salt) (buy iherb or amazon)
  • 2 red capsicum, seeds removed and sliced
  • 1 small spanish onion finely diced
  • 4 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • optional chilli finely minced
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (buy on iherb or amazon)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (buy on iherb or amazon)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tsp salt (buy on iherb or amazon)
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper (buy on iherb or amazon)
  • oil of choice for roasting the veggies (I used olive oil)
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin

Method:
  • Soak the quinoa overnight in some water and 1 tbsp of salt (recommended but if your short for time you can skip this)
  • Preheat the oven to 200C degrees (390F)
  • Peel and dice the pumpkin, place on a lined baking tray with a drizzle of oil in the oven for 15 mins, then turn for another 10 mins until golden brown
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
Roast the diced pumpkin until golden brown
  • While the pumpkin is cooking, rinse the soaked quinoa and place in a saucepan with 1.5 cups of water
  • If you haven't soaked the quinoa, rinse until water runs clear and add to saucepan with 2 cups of water
  • Bring to boil, cover then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 mins until water is absorbed, set aside to cool
  • Thinly slice the capsicums removing the seeds and set aside
  • Finely dice the spanish onion and add to a large mixing bowl
  • Finely slice the spring onions and finely chop the fresh herbs and add to the bowl
  • mince the garlic and chilli if using and add to the bowl
  • Juice the limes and set aside
  • When the pumpkin is ready, set aside on a plate to cool (do not add to bowl as it will wilt the fresh herbs)
  • Move the oven rack to the top and change the setting to grill with the top element
  • Layer the capsicum on the baking tray and drizzle with oil and place on the top rack for 6-8 mins, using tongs toss the capsicum around and return to the oven for another 4-6 minutes or until slightly brown
  • Set the capsicum aside to cool slightly
  • Once the pumpkin and capsicum has cooled add to the bowl
  • Add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Add the oil, half the lime juice, salt, pepper and mix gently
  • Taste and add more lime juice if needed
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
Add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds 
Hope you enjoy!!
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
May xx

References:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/11/quinoa-nutrition.aspx
http://thepaleodiet.com/quinoa-paleo/#.Vl5o4oRx2fQ
http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/is-quinoa-paleo-friendly/
http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/


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