Quinoa, Chorizo and Almond Risotto

Quinoa, Chorizo and Almond Risotto

I noticed a recipe recently for a ‘super healthy breakfast’: porridge made with Quinoa.  As far as I know, I had never tried this South American grain, pronounced ‘keen-wa’ before, but it seems to have grown in popularity over the last few years, particularly in the UK and the US, where it is being used as superior alternative to bulgur wheat, oatmeal, couscous and rice.


Me and my Latin America Friends, from Chile, Nicaragua and Peru, in the Peruvian Restaurant in Stockbridge.

I say ‘as far as I know’ because, when I lived in Edinburgh, a Peruvian friend, Jorge Aliaga Cacho, used to have a restaurant in Stockbridge and, as quinoa was the staple diet of the Incas and their descendants for thousands of years, may well have served up the slightly bitter grain, which is in the same family as beets, chard and spinach.

International Quinoa Year

QuinoaThe UN had named 2013 ‘International Quinoa Year’ in recognition it’s high nutrient content but I’m afraid that announcement must have passed me by, however with twice the protein content of rice or barley and containing all nine essential amino acids (making it a complete-protein source) quinoa should be included in every runner’s diet.  It is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganes, and has good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre.  Furthermore, Quinoa is glutten free and suitable for Vegans too.  Although the recipe below isn’t, as it includes Chorizo (spicey Spanish pork sausage).


OK, I haven’t actually made the ‘super healthy porridge’ – watch this space – but I did make a Quinoa, Chorizo and Almond Risotto, which tasted great and provided two huge servings.

Ingredients: Quinoa 85g; Half a Vegetable Stock Pot or 2 Cubes; a Red Pepper; 2 Vine Tomatoes; 1 Red Onion; 2 tbsp of Ground Almonds; 1 can of Organic Lentils, 70g of diced Chorizo; 2 tbsp of chopped Fresh Coriander: 50g of Feta Cheese and 1 tbsp of Olive Oil.

Method:    Add the Stock Pot/Cubes to 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil, in a medium sized pot.  Whilst this is heating, place the Quinoa in a sieve and rinse under running water for 30-40 seconds.  Once boiling, add the Quinoa, bring back to the boil and then simmer for eight minutes. Drain the Quinoa and return to the empty pot, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to stand.

choppedredpepperNow remove the seeds/core from the red pepper and chop one third of it into 0.5 cm (0.2″) squares.  Chop the other 2/3 into squares about double this size, 1cm (0.4″).  Chop the tomatoes into 1cm (0,4″) cubes.  Peel and very finely chop the red onion. Drain and rinse the can of lentils.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, on medium-high heat, add the chorizo and stirfry for a few minutes, until it turns crispy at the edges. Remove the chorizo from the pan but leave the juices.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the red onion and the larger red pepper squares. Cook until soft, approx 7mins.  Add the tomato and return the chorizo to the pan.  Cook for a further 3mins and then stir in the lentils.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped corriander, the quinoa, the remaining red pepper and the ground almonds.  Once all the ingredients are mixed throroughly, use your hands to crumble the feta cheese over the meal.

Serve and enjoy!

quinoa, chorizax2







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