Saturday, March 20, 2010

Warm beetroot and quinoa tabouleh

I like the constraints of box living. The lack of choice is actually incredibly freeing. I would prefer someone else choose for me than have to figure it out at the markets. I love inventing food to fit what nature provides. On a slightly more spiritual level, I like to feel the moods of the earth and know her influence on living things. We are lucky to have such plentiful food and I am grateful for it.

Really, I appreciate that farmers are making any produce at all. I tried to grow herbs this summer and whilst they began well, by the end of the flooding rains punctuated by no rain, my own forgetfulness or my cats leaping into them... they're all done for! The sage and tarragon are the only things left and some sort of bug has eaten most of 'em! Heh.

It's an interesting psychological difference between the fearful way I 'choose' produce in the supermarket ("it must be perfect") vs. the joyous way I accept a box of Food from Food Connect ("I trust it will be good"). I can't quite explain it, but there you are. :)

Anyway, tonight I wanted to use the single fresh beetroot that I got in my Gourmet Box this week. I had some parsley left over from last week and limes, so a beetroot and quinoa tabouleh inspired by this recipe was worth trying. I was very excited because I've never used quinoa before. Have you?

Quinoa is grown in Bolivia, but grows in Australia if farmers wanted to develop our industry. ;)

Quinoa has a similar proportion of protein to meat--taking water into account--and remarkably contains a balanced set of essential amino acids. These are the proteins humans cannot manufacture by ourselves. Apparently NASA is rather impressed by this ancient grain (NASA Technical Paper 3422).

1/3 cup quinoa (wash carefully! See the comment from my Boliva-traveling friend)
2/3 cup stock
1 beetroot* grated
1 onion finely chopped (I used white, though red is recommended)
1 tbsp olive oil
big handful of parsley
1/2 lime's worth of juice
1 tbsp aged red wine vinegar
black pepper


Dry roast the quinoa in the frying pan for a minute or two. Add stock and simmer covered on low for 15min. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5mins. Saute onion in olive oil for 10mins or so.

Combine beetroot, parsley, lime juice, vinegar and pepper in a bowl. Beetroot and parsley are both fantastic nutrients, containing all sorts of great antioxidants and vitamins.

Add onion mixture, quinoa and beetroot mix to make a salad. Voila!

Look how crazy the quinoa is! The little grains look like tiny eggs with tails floating off. This stuff is so much tastier (and healthier) than cous cous. Apparently it sprouts fast overnight, releasing even more nutrients.

Plus, this recipe was super-yummy. The textures really pop and it's super fast and easy to make. 20 minutes to noms.

* Ingredients in green come from Food Connect


  1. Did you wash, wash, wash your Quinoa? First time we tried to make it (in a trangia in bolivia) we failed at this and it was not as nice as all the quinoa being served to us, next time (back home) we did the triple wash and rub and it made it the super-yum eating experience it should be. It also cooks up a treat in the rice cooker!! When you wash and rub it feels like a soapy coating is coming off...

  2. I *think* ours had been washed clean (based on info I found on the net). But, I'll be more scrupulous next time and let you know whether it tastes any better. Thanks for the reminder. How amazing is it that you have actually eaten he stuff in Bolivia!

  3. That's a great recipe! Isn't quinoa fun to cook with!

    I like to cook my quinoa a little longer. Actually I cook it on a stove top until all the water is boiled away. Then I turn off the heat and let it steam undisturbed with the lid on for about 15 min. It should be all one color with no white spots as it is not quite done yet in your picture. ;)

    Thank you so much for your great recipe!