Savoy, leek and tomato quinoa: cheap and classless

There’s nothing I like better than a further opportunity to demonstrate my award-winning photography and recipe-writing skills, and so when Caleigh the Gluten Freek’s challenge arrived in my in-box, I accepted within seconds. I know it’s similar to a previous contribution, but given both Nigel and Nigella called personally to congratulate me on that particular dish, I figured: why make drastic changes to an obviously winning formula?

So I’ll confess what sometimes narks me a bit about people’s responses to quinoa:

1. “But I don’t like it!”

You know, it doesn’t really taste of that much. It’s pretty bland, like other stuff you probably eat until you add flavour to it (rice, polenta etc) and while I’ve heard it described as ‘nutty’, I don’t really get that. It’s just another (sort of) grain – and one with a terrific nutritional / protein profile. If you think it tastes soapy – then rinse it with hot water (even more than once). Come on: learn to like it!

2. “It’s expensive!”

It’s £2.99 for 500g. That’s five or six meals. And South American farmers who grow it don’t get paid much, so it’s okay that it costs a bit more than, say, rice.

3. “It’s middle class!”

Grr. Go to Bolivia and see whether it’s middle class. (Obviously I have done this.) I hate the notion of food having class – this philosophy is a British invention: can’t we let it go?

So the challenge was a gluten-free meal for £1.

Ingredients for 2:
* 200g of Quinoa (£1.196)
* 4 or 5 green outer leaves of Savoy, 1 big leek, some ripe tomatoes (80.4p exactly)
* Olive oil, lime, garlic, vegetable stock, dried herbs, salt, sugar, pepper (0p from Freecycle)

1. Fry the sliced leek in oil till soft.
2. Add shredded Savoy and garlic.
3. Throw in chopped tomatoes.
4. Add rinsed quinoa.
5. Add vegetable stock (I cheated and added a couple of teaspoons of bouillon powder and then water as I need it as quinoa is cooking.)
6. Add a big tablespoon or two of dried herbs of your choice, and then salt (tiny amount), a little sugar (the Savoy can be bitter, but if your tomatoes are sweet you may not need it), pepper (lots really works, the quinoa can take it) if you like.
7. Cook until … cooked.
8. Squeeze of lime atop. I like lots.
9. Rest (excess fluid will absorb).
10. Serve.

(This blogpost / recipe is vegan and gluten-free, but was made in a home where excuses are used and rubbish is spoken therefore may contain traces of fibs at levels to which those who react to lying may find intolerable.)

(But quinoa can be used in a cheap meal. So there.)

(For other (read: better) recipes from other (read: better) bloggers, click here.)

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