By now you all know I love to put a healthy spin on classic recipes and make them as nourishing as possible (without any compromise on taste). This delicious Superfood Quinoa Pilau recipe is my twist on the classic, which is traditionally made with rice.
The ‘superfood’ tag is generally used to describe foods that are particularly high in essential nutrients, phytonutrients and antioxidants. They are especially immune supportive and provide a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals to your body.
This recipe is super given that it’s a combination of particularly nutrient dense superfood ingredients. I hope you love it.
Quinoa (pronounced ‘kin-wah’) is a complete plant based protein which has an extraordinary nutrient profile.
Kale is a fibre rich, nutritional powerhouse. It’s a great source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as protective isothiocyanates and indoles (phytonutrients).
Goji Berries are an immune supportive, anti-oxidant rich, very nutrient dense food. They are my number one choice when it comes to dried fruit.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb. In a word where inflammation underpins so many disease, turmeric is an important part of a healthy diet.
For more practical info on ‘superfoods’ and how to include them in your diet, click HERE.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your specific dietary requirements (vegan, onion-free etc).
Superfood Quinoa Pilau
- 170 g quinoa (1 cup)
- 1 red onion/s -finely diced
- 500 ml water (2 cups) or bone broth
- 1½ tsp sea salt - or to taste
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 4 cardamom pods -bruised
- 1 sweet potato/s -diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil -extra virgin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 bunch/s kale -leaves torn off stems
- 30 g pumpkin seeds (¼ cup)
- 30 g goji berries
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- Ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (fan-forced).
- Rinse the quinoa really well in a fine sieve or ideally soak it for 1-12 hours to remove the bitter tasting saponins.
- Finely dice the red onion and put into a pot with the quinoa and 2 cups of water or broth. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt, cinnamon quill and cardamon pods. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is all absorbed.
- Whilst that is simmering, line a large oven tray with baking paper.
- Dice the sweet potato into 2 cm pieces and place at one end of the tray leaving room for the kale and pumpkin seeds which you'll add later.
- Drizzle with half tablespoon of the olive oil, toss and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the sea salt and the cinnamon. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Now wash the kale leaves well and tear the soft leaves from the woody stem. Place them into your serving/ salad bowl and add the remaining one and half tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the sea salt. Massage the oil into the leaves.
- After the sweet potato has cooked for 12 minutes, add half of the kale leaves, in a single layer. I choose the thicker outer leaves to roast and reserve the younger, more tender leaves for the salad.
- Also add the pumpkin seeds to the tray. Cook along side the sweet potato for the remaining 8 minutes to crisp the kale leaves and toast the pumpkin seeds.
- By now your quinoa will be close to being cooked. Stir it and make sure it has absorbed the water or broth. Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. This step gives the quinoa time to pop open and the little white spiral to appear. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool a little. Add the turmeric and black pepper and mix well.
- You can serve this dish either warm or cold. If serving cold allow the quinoa to cool completely.
- Remove the cinnamon quill and add the quinoa to the salad or serving bowl.
- Mix in the roasted sweet potato, pumpkin seeds and top with the crisp kale (add the pumpkin seeds and crispy kale right before serving or they lose their crunch).
- Sprinkle over the goji berries and enjoy.
- As is or with a simple piece of grilled, baked or BBQ'd protein like fish, chicken, red meat or a vegetarian protein.
- Just keep the kale chips and pumpkin seeds aside until serving.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.