Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Spiced Quinoa with Butternut Squash & Pistachios

I went through some of my earlier Happy Belly posts today and it's funny how different they are from the recent ones.  This started out as a proper food blog where every blog post was about the actual dish I made. Then slowly I started linking the food to relevant life anecdotes and next thing you know this somehow turned into a personal diary.
So let's talk about this dish.  It's not my recipe, I got it from Will Cook for Friends.  It's a healthy superfood salad full of protein and healthy fats.  It's, I suppose, inspired by Lebanese flavors, what with the pistachios and coriander.  Oh I should add saffron to it next time.  I love saffron.  Hell, I felt like it was such a splurge buying pistachios (£4 for a small pack), I might as well add saffron to this.  Saffron actually isn't that bad.  It's expensive but you use so little of it every time.  A tiny little box with like half a tbsp of it might cost you £5 but at the same time you only use such a small fraction of it each time that it would last you for quite a while.  These pistachios on the other hand...well this was half a pack right here. 

Ok back to the dish.  It's easy and versatile.  It's a salad, it is by definition just a jumble of ingredients so add what you want.  You can use cheaper nuts and you don't have to add saffron. 
I made this when my friend, Rachel, came for lunch.  I love it when friends come over for lunch.  Guys, don't be afraid to ask, I love cooking for friends, if you're good company, you can invite yourself over for a meal. 

Recipe from Will Cook For Friends
Serves 2
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup pistachios, roasted and shelled
1/4 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180C.
Toss cubed squash with 1-2 TBSP olive oil, and a large pinch of salt. Spread in an single layer on a foil covered baking sheet, and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender. Shake or stir the pan once during cooking.

In a small pan over medium heat, saute garlic in 1 TBSP olive oil until golden and fragrant. Rinse the quinoa under cold water, drain, then add to the pan. Add the vegetable broth, coriander, and cumin, and bring to a boil*. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let cook 12-15 minutes without lifting the lid. Remove from heat, and let stand for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid, and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Stir in chopped cilantro, pistachios, and the squash. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Serve.

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