Smoky Quinoa and Vegetables

Serves 4

  • 7 cherry tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • sliced yellow or red pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 courgette sliced into a large chunks
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons of harissa paste
  • 6 green olives
  • 700ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 good pinch of sea salt.


On a medium heated hob place a large deep sauté pan with a good glug of olive oil, and allow to heat.

After a minute add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the fennel seeds, courgette, pepper, and gently cook for 10 minutes.

Add the harissa paste, the smoked paprika, olives, and mix thoroughly. Then add the quinoa and mix again, then add the stock.

Bring to a low gently simmer, and turn the heat down low and allow to gently cook for 40 minutes.

Lovely hot or cold. Add a simple rocket and watercress salad to make it into a lunch.

Nutritional benefits

Using the whole of the onion allows you to gain the benefit of the more concentrated flavonoids that are just below the skin, in particular quercetin. Quercetin in research has been shown to reduce high HDL levels and systolic blood pressure good news for those of you with high blood pressure issues. Fortunately, it is abundant in our plant food therefore inexpensive to add as a food, and it’s suggested that it helps to protect blood vessels against oxidative damage through influencing nitric oxide production. One kilogram of onion can equate to 300ml of quercetin so adding onion regularly to dishes can clearly be very beneficial and acts as a drip-feed daily. Onions are also rich in vitamin C, copper, B6, manganese, folate and biotin.

Quinoa, the South American seed is lower on the glycemic index than rice, and as a bonus it has almost double the amount of protein, making it a good addition to a plant based diet. It also provides omega 3 in the form of Alpha Lipoic Acid a modulator of inflammation and has good levels of manganese an excellent antioxidant, amazingly it contains 20 different phytonutrients these clearly bringing great anti-inflammatory properties to any dish.

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