I love the chewy texture of quinoa any time but especially in this dish when you add in the oozy goodness of just melted cheese. A healthier twist on the old comfort food special mac & cheese.
takes: 30 minutes
enough for: 2
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup (120g) quinoa
1 cup stock or water
large handful melting cheese*, sliced
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. Heat a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Add a good splash of olive oil and cook onion, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the onion is really soft.
2. Add quinoa and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft. Keep an eye on the pot and add extra water if it dries out before the quinoa is cooked.
3. Stir in the cheese and stand the pot off the heat with the lid on for a few minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Toss in the chopped parsley and serve warm.
paleo – replace the quinoa with 1/2 small grated cauliflower (I use the food processor for ease) and skip the stock. Just add the raw cauli to the softened onion and cook for a few minutes or until the cauli is warm. Then toss through a handful or two of roasted nuts (brazil, almonds or pine nuts would be my pick) and toss in the herbs.
*different cheese – I used emmental but gruyere, cheddar or mozzarella are all good. Basically anything that’s going to melt.
different grains – replace quinoa with couscous (only simmer a few minutes) or white (15 minutes) or brown rice (simmer about 30 minutes and expect to add extra liquid).
short on time / onion-free – skip the onion and toss through a bunch of chopped chives with the parsley.
more veg – toss in a handful of defrosted frozen peas when you add the cheese. You could add any grilled veg at the end such as eggplant, zucchini (courgettes) or red peppers (capsicum).
dairy-free / vegan – Toss through a handful or two of roasted nuts (brazil, almonds or pine nuts would be my pick) instead of the cheese (no need to stand – the nuts aren’t going to melt!).