A recipe with more than a cup of rose in it is something I can get behind. I am sure a chef would question my ratios but I stand firm in that decision! Despite so much produce available this time of year, I find Spring a tricky middle ground when it comes to cooking – we are passed the winter obsession of crispy roasted vegetables but it is also not warm enough in the evenings for raw salads. Quinoa is an optimal source of plant protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids (needed for many physiological functions; synthesize hormones etc.), so it is great for anyone looking for a plant-based dinner piled high with seasonal veg, as it is both a carbohydrate and a protein.
This recipe also has a dose of sunflower seed butter to add a creaminess, in place of cheese. Sunflower seed butter is rich in minerals and an amazing source of vitamin E, too. I used Windy Bank Farm baby arugula, as it’s the best I’ve ever had. Bitter greens such as arugula are often used therapeutically to support digestion, as they stimulate the production of digestive liquids that are necessary for nutrient absorption. The food we eat is only as good as our ability to digest, absorb and assimilate these nutrients in the body. On that note, soak the quinoa for two hours before if you find grains or legumes difficult to digest well!
This is a simple one pot recipe, that can be made in advance and left on the hob if you are entertaining, though it thickens up quite a bit so if you like it creamy and loose, serve right away. Made in a wide pot, you can put this on the table and serve family style, which is my favourite way to go with friends and family. Side of greens, herbs and lemon zest and you are good to go!
Ingredients: Serves 4
1.5 cups dry quinoa, soaked (soaking is good for digestion)
1 cup rose
2 cups of stock (chicken or veg)
1 Bermuda onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp. sunflower seed butter (unsweetened) or tahini
Sea salt and pepper
1 lemon, juice and zest
4 handfuls of arugula
1 box of Bermy Fresh Pea Shoots
In a large pot, warm 2 tbsp. olive oil and add in chopped onions and garlic. Cook until translucent, and then add in the quinoa. Strain if it was soaked before. Cook and stir for a few minutes, until you notice it needs liquid. Begin with ½ cup of broth, and continue to add the rose and broth in ½ cup quantities. While it cooks, stir in the sunflower seed butter. You will notice the creaminess right away! The quinoa will continue to cook, so when it is al dente, take it off the heat. Stir through the arugula while it is still warm.
If you are serving later, add the arugula later, as it might turn slightly brown if left heated for too long. As with any risotto, this will continue to thicken. If it does, use a fork and fluff it up. Add in 1 tbsp. lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sprouts on top, and extra greens.