This root vegetable dish with its warming spices and creamy quinoa is lovely comfort food for these chillier days.
The vegetables and amounts below are mere suggestions purely given in order to try and make a reasonable judgement on the quantities you may need for either feeding a crowd or making ahead for a number of meals. It might sound a lot – you’ll probably need more than one roasting tray – but there will be some shrinkage during cooking, plus there’s worse things in life than leftover roast vegetables.
This is my favourite way to cook quinoa as I find it boring and bland on its own – rinsing (to rid it of any bitter coating) and dry frying for starters helps make it more interesting. Here it’s been jazzed up with fried onion, some lemon juice and the best bit – a dollop of tahini stirred through, which takes it to another level to pass the husband test.
Ingredients (serves around 4)
Oil for roasting
4-6 sweet potatoes
4-6 beetroot (parboiled & peeled)
1 bulb of fennel
1-2 red onions
500g carrots – Chantenay work well
1-2 teaspoons of harissa paste
A sprinkle of cumin and/or caraway seeds (optional but recommended)
Salt & black pepper
Oil for frying
1 large white onion (optional but recommended)
1 lemon – juiced
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp tahini paste
Salt & black pepper
Preheat oven 200 (fan)/220 (conventional) degrees
- Slice the beetroots in half and boil in a saucepan full of water for 5-10 minutes to soften them slightly. Peel once cool enough to touch.
- Drizzle a little bit of oil in the base of your baking tray(s) – you won’t need much as the harissa paste is oily – and leave to warm in the oven.
- Dice your vegetables into similar sized cubes/wedges and throw into the baking pans. Stir through the harissa paste, sprinkle in the cumin and/or caraway and roast for around 45-50 minutes until the vegetables are golden and tender and beginning to crisp around the edges. Season with salt and pepper.
- For the quinoa, slice up the onion and fry in a glug of oil until translucent.
- Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a sieve, shake off the excess water and add to the frying onions. Stir in a good pinch of salt, a grinding or two of black pepper, the vinegar and lemon juice.
- Let the quinoa gently dry-fry with the onions for a few minutes, stirring to stop it sticking, until most of the moisture has evaporated.
- Finally pour in 400-500 ml of water, turn up the heat and allow the quinoa to simmer for 10-12 minutes or so until the grains have expanded and fluffed up and taste tender but retain a bit of bite. You may need to add a little water along the way, or boil vigorously towards the end of the cooking process to drain off any excess.
- Stir in the tahini, garnish with fresh coriander if you have any, and serve with the roast vegetables.
The aromatic white Riesling grape is made for dishes like this one! This one from Germany is off-dry which is lovely with the spicy harissa and sweet root vegetables