Quinoa

Adas Quinoa with Vegan Yoghurt

This is my take on the Persian dish called Adas Polo, which literally means lentil rice. Growing up, this was one of my favourite meals so it is the ultimate comfort food for me. I've replaced the rice with quinoa and made a non-dairy yoghurt to go along side it. The combination of savoury and sweet tones are what make Persian food so unique and so reminiscent of home cooked meals enjoyed with my family.

Quinoa is a wonderful source of essential amino acids which makes it a complete source of plant protein. It is also high in minerals such as magnesium, zinc and potassium as well as fibre, and a group of antioxidants called flavanoids.

Lentils, like quinoa are high in plant protein, and are a great source of iron. They also contain folic acid, and Vitamin B-complex, which are essential for your body.

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After being brought up eating yoghurt almost everyday, I have now cut it out of my diet completely. So when I made this simple recipe it was a revelation, all the soothing familiar flavours came back to me and it was delightful! You can also add in one diced up cucumber to make a mast-o-khiar, which is the Iranian version of tzatziki.

This plant powered, protein packed dish is a definite winner, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Adas Quinoa Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water (approx.)
  • 2 cups white quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Pinch ground up of saffron threads, steeped in 3-4 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any other oil with high smoke point such as safflower oil)
  • 1 large white onion, cut in slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow sultanas/raisins Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt) and black pepper to taste
  • Sumac powder to taste (optional)

Vegan Yoghurt Ingredients

  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6-8 tablespoons water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dried mint leaves
  • Dried rose petals (optional)
  • 1 small cucumber, diced (optional)

Method

Pick over the lentils, making sure there aren't any stones and discarding any shrivelled lentils. Rinse and place in a medium saucepan along with approximately 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 20 mins or so, until the lentils are cooked through. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the chopped onion and cook on medium/high heat until they turn translucent, then reduce the heat to medium/low. Add the turmeric along with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Leave to caramelise, stirring occasionally, for approximately 25 mins. Then add the dates and cook for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and mix in the sultanas/raisins.

Rinse the quinoa, at least 3-4 times, this gets rid of the bitter taste. Drain in a sieve then transfer to a large pot along with the 4 cups vegetable stock, a couple pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to cook with the lid on for 15 mins. Once all the liquid has evaporated pour the saffron liquid over it, put the lid back on and set aside for 5 mins. Then using a fork gently fluff the quinoa.

Make the yoghurt by combining all the ingredients, except for the dried mint, rose petals, and cucumber if using, in a blender and blitz until smooth, adding more water if needed. Transfer to a bowl, taste to adjust seasoning and sprinkle with crushed dried mint and rose petals.

Add the lentils to the pot of quinoa and gently combine. When you're ready to eat, transfer to a large plate, cover with caramelised onions, dates and sultanas, then sprinkle a couple pinches of sumac, if using, over the top and serve alongside the yoghurt.

Enjoy!

Juice Pulp Gluten Free Muffins

Juice pulp muffin

I posted a video on our Instagram page (@vegetariantreehouse) of me making some juice yesterday morning and a friend posted a comment asking whether I do anything with the left over juice pulp. The answer was yes, I've made a number of things with it including hummus inspired dips, soups, veggie burgers (watch this space I have a recipe coming soon), and crackers. Since the pulp has a lot of nutrients and fibre in it it's a real shame to let it go to waste, so if you don't have time to make something with it immediately after making your morning juice just store it in the fridge, and it should keep for a couple of days. His question got me thinking about what else I could do with the pulp I had just saved from my morning juice and so I started researching and came across this lovely recipe. I decided to give it a go with the ingredients I had on hand at home, and since I'm packing up the flat at the moment in preparation for the big move to Doha on Friday I improvised a bit.

The pulp I used was from a orange, carrot, apple, ginger, and parsley juice, I sifted through it to get as much of the parsley out as possible. So here is the recipe and I hope you try it out next time you make a juice. If you want to give the muffins a go and don't have juice pulp just grate some carrot, apple and ginger and leave out the orange and parsley!

Ingredients (makes 12)

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I made my own, see recipe below) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon cinnamon 3/4 cup sunflower seeds 1/2 cup chopped raisins (or whatever dried fruit you have on hand) 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds Filtered water 2 cups unsweetened soya milk (or non dairy milk of your choice) 1 teaspoon vanilla (fresh from the pod or extract) 1 1/2 cups juice pulp (or grated fruit) 2 tablespoons date syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

My Improvised Gluten Free Flour Recipe

Blend 2 cups quinoa flakes until it becomes a flour like consistency. Then add 2 tablespoons coconut flour, and 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour to it. The End.

So back to the muffin recipe...

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Grease the muffin tins, I would not recommend using muffin cups as I did because the muffins stick to the paper! Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and add the sunflower seeds and raisins. In a separate bowl mix the chia seeds with about half a cup of hot water, stir well and add the soya milk, date syrup, and vanilla. Then add the fruit pulp and another half cup of water, and mix well for a couple of minutes. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix together. Then spoon the batter into the muffin tins, place in the oven and leave to bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a metal rack. Enjoy!