Archive | February 2014

Saffron Quinoa with Steamed Veggies

Saffron Quinoa

I looove quinoa mostly because it is sweet (tastes like corn to me) and texturized. It’s such an easy and delicious complete plant protein that all it needs is some side veggies.

Saffron, fresh oregano, lemon rind, and the little bit of heat from the red chili pepper make this dish sing, in spite of its simplicity. It has a very mediterranean feel, warm and extremely tasty.

The pumpkin seed paste works very well with the kohlrabi, but even more so with the broccoli; it snuggles into the fibrous florets, coating them luxuriously, and creating a texture sensation that’s both creamy and tantalizing. It’s one of my favourite ways to dress broccoli. The hint of lemon juice in the paste, picks up well the lemon rind in the quinoa, tying the whole dish  together beautifully.

If you don’t have time to make the paste, a little dressing of olive oil, salt, and black pepper works well on steamed veggies. When I make the paste, I freeze it in batches of individual tablespoons for such occasions. The pumpkin paste really does take simple steamed vegetables to a very exciting place really fast, so it’s worth a try!

Topped with the hearty choice of vegetables (kohlrabi, celery root, and broccoli), the dish is extremely satisfying. My mouth wanted more, but my tummy was telling me it was full. It’s a nice, fast weeknight treat.

Serves 3


Saffron Quinoa:
Olive oil 3 + 1 tbsp
Onion, red, chopped 1/2
Garlic, cloves, minced 2
Chili pepper, red, half of the seeds removed, chopped 1
Quinoa 1.5 cups
Water 3 cups
Saffron 3-4 pinches
Lemon, rind 1
Salt 1 tsp
Black pepper
Oregano, fresh, sprigs, chopped 3
Steamed Veggies:
Broccoli, heads, medium, cut into medium pieces 3
Kohlrabi, medium, sliced 3
Celery root, sliced 1/2
Pumpkin seed paste (see link for recipe) 2-3 tbsp
Olive oil Drizzling
Black pepper
  1. Prepare veggies for steaming.
  2. In a medium pot, over medium heat, heat 3 tbs of olive oil.
  3. Add onion and sauté until translucent approximately 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and red chili pepper and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add quinoa and toast for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add water (check package to ensure you are using the right amount of water for your brand of quinoa).
  7. Bring water to a simmer.
  8. When the water is simmering, add lemon rind, saffron, salt and black pepper.
  9. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare steamer and steam veggies for approximately 15 minutes or to desired crunchiness. Remove veggies from steamer and toss, while still warm, in 2-3 tbsp of pumpkin seed paste, and add: salt, black pepper and a drizzle or two of olive oil to taste.
  11. When quinoa is done, remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.
  12. Stir oregano and another tablespoon of olive oil into the quinoa.
  13. Serve with steamed veggies.