Quinoa is a Taste Safari larder staple! I am so in love with this grain that adds such a nutty bite to every mouthful. Now, check this out; this is pretty amazing…

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Proposed by the government of Bolivia and receiving strong support from many Central and South American countries, quinoa has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with “high nutritive value,” impressive biodiversity, and an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide.

The nutritional structure of this grain is incredible. Without making this blog sound like a food scientist gone mad about quinoa, I just need to tell you, quickly, that it’s chock full of antioxidants, even more concentrated than those found in cranberries. What blew me away is that by boiling or steaming quinoa, the nutritional structure and the quality of the grain is barely compromised as compared to when we boil the hell out of vegetables (which, of course, is something I would never dream of doing!). So, basically, get out there and stock up on your quinoa and live life by eating healthier!

My recipe takes the health element to the next level, as I have used a generous helping of my favorite seeds, sunflower and pumpkin. Because quinoa does not impart flavour as such, I have added earthy seasonings such as crushed whole coriander seeds, sesame seeds, a kick of chill, cumin seeds, freshly ground black pepper, pink and green peppercorns. The cottage cheese and sundried tomatoes add a luxurious fresh mouth feel, finishing with a crunch of pomegranate seeds. I adore this recipe and I am sure you will too.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa grain
1 cup fresh cottage cheese
1/2 cup of finely chopped sundried tomatoes plus 3 large tbs of oil from the sundried tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1 bunch of spring onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tsps cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp pink and green peppercorns, crushed
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
A handful of mixed parsley and coriander roughly chopped
Salt for seasoning
Drizzle of pomegranate molasses to finish.
3 cups of water for boiling the quinoa

quinoa dish ingredients
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Place the water to boil in a large saucepan. Add the quinoa and leave to boil for at least 13-15 minutes until soft and fluffy. Drain and set aside to cool.

Heat a large frying pan and dry roast the cumin seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chilli flakes, pink, green and black crushed peppercorns, tossing the in the pan as shown. Do this for four five minutes until you can smell the spices and seeds roasting. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the drained, cooled quinoa, all the roasted seeds and spices, the cottage cheese, the spring onion,the sundried tomatoes and the oil from the sundried tomatoes, the pomengranate seeds and gently fold this all together.

Season generously with the salt. Add the parsley-coriander herbs and just before serving drizzle some pomegranate molasses over the top.

Serve this with any meat dish or fish dish, or, like me, just pile up on big plates in its own gloriousness and indulge!

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