A one pot wonder indeedy is this Peruvian Quinoa Stew. Despite moving into a residential college that provides all of my meals, it felt fitting to salute the realm of ‘student nosh’. A term at Oxford was enough to have me sympathising with the baked spud, beans and cheese crowd. Meals that can be whipped up with minimum fuss yet pack a punch of goodies into you are what we’re after. Hearty, tomatoey and brimming with a variety of vegetables, this baby fits the bill. It’s got your protein and carbs well covered with the quinoa, requiring no ‘extra’ cooking for rice/pasta etc. Admittedly, there’s no truly green veg, however you could easily pop in a few florets of broccoli or some trimmed green beans. If that’s too much effort, simply slop it on top of a bowl of fresh baby spinach leaves. Easy peasy. Think of it as a bumper ‘superfood’ alternative to vegetarian chilli con carne.
The quinoa thickens the stew delightfully, resulting in a texture that falls on the sloppier side of a risotto. Articulate, no? Baked beans, the epitome of student food, provide an extra protein hit – gotta keep those energy levels up! – as well as a creamy richness. The spice factor is entirely is up to you – I’ve been quite skimpy with the ground spices, allowing you to drizzle over as much tobasco as you like at the end. I personally like a good kick from the tobasco, as it draws out the other flavours, but it’s up to you. We can do our own thing now, remember?
Cheese is non-essential, yet essential. That make sense? Technically you don’t need it – tastes fine without out – yet when it goes all melty on top….well you really must have it. I’ve been harping on about ‘student food’, however it’s a handy dandy option for any work weary lass or lad. Make a big batch over the weekend and freeze for no-fuss weeknight suppers.
What was I saying in yesterday’s post? Oh that’s right. Short and sweet. Better round it up then. Simple, nutritious, tasty and prepped all in the one pot (well two if you count the quinoa pot, but who’s looking that closely?). Bingo. Now, time to turn the essay brain on again…
Peruvian Quinoa Stew
Serves 4 – 6
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled & cut into 1cm cubes
1 large carrot, cut into ½ cm thick slices on the angle
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 large red capsicum, cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 cup zucchini, cut into 1cm cubes
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1x 125g tin corn kernels, drained
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
200g tin baked beans
Tobasco to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
To Serve (Optional)
Grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese
Place the quinoa in a small pot and cover with the water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until tender and most (or all) of the water has been absorbed. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saute pan/pot. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute. Now toss in the butternut squash and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the ground cumin, coriander, paprika, dried oregano and tomato paste. Stir constantly for 30 seconds or the vegetables are well coated and fragrant.
Add the capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, corn, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, stirring every so often. Remove the lid, stir through the baked beans and quinoa and cook gently for a further 2 minutes. Season with tobasco, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls alongside some greens and topped with grated cheese and cubed avocado if you wish.
Will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Also freezes well.
Source: Inspired by the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.