One of my all time favourite cook books has to be Mexican Food Made Simple* by Thomasina Miers (who is the mastermind behind the successful Wahaca restaurant chain, also known as my favourite place in London to pig out and drink tequila.) The book is filled with recipes inspired by her travels; burritos, churros and tacos galore.
There is one recipe in particular, however, that I always come back to, and that’s the Green Rice, or Arroz Verde. It’s a really simple side dish, but one I adore. This Green Quinoa was inspired by that recipe, with all the fresh flavour and colour of the original, and the added health benefits and nutty texture of quinoa.
I love having a batch of ready cooked grains to keep in the fridge and use throughout the week; not only is it quick and convenient, but cooked like this, the green quinoa adds a punch of herby flavour to any dish you use it in. It’s great on it’s own, but works well as a base for buddha bowls, thrown into soups or salads or with a hearty chilli.
The flavour and vibrant green hue comes from coriander and spinach, whizzed up in a blender with some onion, garlic and a splash of water and olive oil – the perfect savoury smoothie for the quinoa to absorb. You’re allowed to feel totally virtuous when you eat this too, because you’re getting one of your five a day without even realising it #health. The green blend is cooked for five minutes to take the rawness out of the onions and garlic, then the quinoa is stirred in and it all simmers in chicken stock, for richness.
This can easily be made vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable stock if required. Likewise, you can change the herbs for a different taste – the original recipe uses parsley instead of spinach, but I strongly feel that parsley is the devil incarnated in herb form… so spinach it is.
- 200g quinoa
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 a small onion
- handful of coriander
- handful of spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml chicken stock
- salt + pepper
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve to remove any bitterness. Set aside and leave to drain.
- In a blender, add the garlic, onion, coriander, spinach, half of the olive oil and a splash of water. Blend until smooth.
- Add the remaining half of the oil to a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the blended coriander and spinach. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in the quinoa and stir well, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
- Once the liquid is boiling, turn the heat down low, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, check the seasoning and then cover for 5 more minutes to full absorb all the liquid.