Spicy Quinoa Salad

Cooking and baking are my main creative outlet these days. A long time ago, I used to take pictures, get them printed and then use them for drawings. That was when I still had a film SLR camera! I still have it, tucked away somewhere. I am wondering what I should do with it when we move in December... Any suggestions?! For my 30th birthday, which is next week, I picked out a Cannon D60 as a present to myself (good thing I could get a business lease for it...). I am pretty excited to have a nice camera to play with and hopefully my food photography will improve significantly. I know the learning curve will be fairly steep, but for some reason, I seem to learn best when that is the case. The lighting in our current kitchen and dining room is terrible and most of the time I can't use natural day light because it gets dark before 5pm. Hopefully the new SLR vs my point and shoot will help and perhaps the lighting in our new place will be better too, otherwise I might need to invest is some lights?! I might be jumping the gun a bit. First step - get my new camera on the weekend and then go from there...

Note: the above was sort of a 'disclaimer' to why the picture in this blog so far suck... Bad lighting and a point and shoot camera ;) Onto the quinoa salad recipe!

I don't eat quinoa very often, but for some reason I just felt like some last weekend. It has been a busy week and by the time Saturday evening rolled around, all I felt like making for dinner was something that I could prep and cook in under 25 minutes, throw in a bowl, mix and eat. Next time I will very likely swap the quinoa for roasted yams. I love yams!

Also, I really wanted to add 1 mango to this, instead of pomegranate, because mango & eggplant is an amazing combination... Unfortunately they are a bit hard to come by in Victoria in the fall/winter unless you want to buy them rock hard from Mexico or pay a fortune for the abnormally huge ones from Australia... I'll wait to try this particular combination until the summer. In the meantime - the pomegranate hit the spot!


Spicy Quinoa Salad

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into discs
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, stemmed and washed
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • Handful raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cook the quinoa in the coconut milk, water and 1/2 of each of the spices (1/4 tbsp turmeric, 1/4 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tbsp garam masala)
  3. Brush the eggplant discs with 1 tbsp of olive oil and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for ~10 minutes or until the are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool
  4. Steam the spinach until wilted, then drop in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Place in a colander to drain.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken over medium heat. Set aside when done
  6. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces
  7. Once drained, chop the spinach
  8. Place the quinoa in a big bowl and add the rest of the spices.
  9. Add eggplant, spinach, chicken, raisins, pecans & pomegranate seeds
  10. Salt and pepper to taste

Notes

Cook time and prep time overlap... Prep everything while the quinoa and chicken are cooking. It takes a bit of multitasking... I would say it took me 25 min all together to make this!