Quinoa salad has become a go to lunch for me this winter. It is a great base for so many different flavours and provides a source of protein as well as slow release carbohydrates. This quinoa salad recipe combines quinoa along with pumpkin and carrots with a touch of kale and sunflower seeds.
Pumpkin and carrots are winter staples as they’re in season and a good price. Plus I love the bright orange colour to brighten up otherwise bland looking quinoa. The bright orange colour of pumpkin and carrots comes from beta carotene.
Carrots are the richest vegetable source of vitamin A, in particular beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A by the body. One medium carrot supplies enough vitamin A for two days’ intake! Carrots are also a source of vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium and fibre. Carrots are also a source of the phytochemical falcarinol, which may protect against some cancers. Pumpkin is also a rich source of vitamin A, and also provide some B vitamins, potassium and vitamin C.
Beta carotene and vitamin A are fat soluble, meaning there must be fat present to absorb them. That’s why roasting them in a good dose of healthy oil is recommended – and makes them taste amazing too. Bonus! Kale also contains vitamin A, as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals – hense why it’s known as a super vegetable.
The yellowy colour from this dish comes from turmeric. Turmeric has a mild, peppery flavour and is one of the spices in curry powder. It has many health benefits because of it’s powerful anti inflammatory properties.
I’ve used avocado oil for roasting the veges. I love avocado oil as it’s high in healthy monounsaturated fats, has a nice flavour and has a high smoke point, meaning it won’t break down at high temperatures (this causes all sorts of nasty compounds to form), but you could use another oil of your choice.
The sunflower seeds add a nice little bit of crunch and provide vitamin B6, magnesium and some iron too.
So enough about the ingredients, and here’s how to make it.
Ingredients for two servings
2 carrots, cut into chunks
fist sized piece of pumpkin, cut into chunks
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon avocado oil, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable stock
1/ teaspoon turmeric
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 kale leaves, stems removed and chopped finely.
4 teaspoons sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to season.
Place the chopped carrot and pumpkin on a roasting tray and rub the oil and garlic over the veges. Place in an oven at 180 degrees Celsius for around 20 minutes, or until cooked.
While the veges are roasting, rinse the quinoa under water, then place in a pot with the vegetable stock. Cook over a medium heat for approximately 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
In a fry pan, add the 1 tsp of oil and the red onion and turmeric. Cook over a medium temperature until the onion is soft. Add the kale and heat until it is wilted.
Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl and stir through the roasted veges, onion and kale. Sprinkle over the sunflower seeds and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges.