Monday, August 03, 2009

August 1, 2009: Roasted vegetables with tomato charmoula and quinoa

I got myself back into a cooking groove on the weekend by picking out a recipe submitted to our winter giveaway. Dmargster originally found this one at FatFree Vegan Kitchen and promised "You will enjoy this or your money back!"

While there's quite a few different elements vying for your palate's attention, he's right that this is simple to prepare: the chopped vegetables go into the oven with a scant but spicy dressing based on crushed tomatoes, while the saffron, garlic and currants just join the quinoa for its usual stove simmer. Better yet, it's the kind of thing you can prepare in bulk and pack up for several lunches at work.

The lightness of the tomato chermoula coating that initially had me worried about impending blandness, but actually there's plenty of flavour to be had. Michael tends to prefer things saucy (make of that what you will), so if I make this again, I might try padding out the chermoula with some tomato paste as a compromise. I didn't really like the eggplant in this guise but the cauliflower, zucchini and chickpeas were lovely.

Roasted vegetables with tomato charmoula and quinoa
(based on a recipe at FatFree Vegan Kitchen, recommended by Dmargster)

2 roma tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon 'chicken' stock powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small eggplant, chopped into chunks
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
2 zucchinis, chopped into chunks
1 red capsicum, chopped into chunks
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup quinoa
2 cups 'chicken' stock
few threads saffron, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons currants

Halve the tomatoes and place them cut-side-down on a tray. Grill them until the skins blacken and pull away from the flesh. Remove the skins and mash the tomatoes in a small bowl with a fork. Stir in the stock powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, ginger, marjoram, cayenne and salt.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini and capsicum into a large baking tray and stir through the spiced tomato mush. Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, add the chickpeas, and roast for a further 15 minutes.

During that last 15 minutes, stir together the quinoa, stock, saffron, garlic and currants in a saucepan and bring them to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan and cook the quinoa gently until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).

Fluff up the quinoa, spoon it onto serving plates and top it with the roasted vegetables.


  1. How do you keep your quinoa from going bitter? Even when I rinse it, it's not right..

  2. Hmmm, I don't know! It's not as sweet as couscous, but I wouldn't say that I've eaten bitter quinoa. I've always bought the same brand - the Lotus organic stuff from Allergy Block - so I'm not sure if there's variation between suppliers.

    Does anyone else have ideas?