Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spiced Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas and Spinach

The last time I cleansed, I made quinoa porridge with soy milk, mashed banana and frozen fruits. It was satisfying and comforting and I would make it again in an instant. This time around, I used quinoa for dinner instead of breakfast, and made this tasty, hearty pilaf full of yummy goodness like chickpeas, spinach and a big dose of spice.

Last time around, I used lemon and vinegar to flavour my savoury meals, and while they were tasty, I wanted something more comforting and mellow. Our cleanse dictated that no salt was to be added to our food. To make up for that, I made this pilaf lots of delicious spices and herbs: cumin, coriander, ginger, garam masala, curry leaves, dried oregano, lots of black pepper and even more chopped fresh parsley. It turned out wonderful and I almost didn't miss the salt at all. And it was really easy -- basically dumping everything in a pot to cook, and stirring in the chickpeas and fresh herbs and vegetables in at the last second. I made a big batch the night before my cleanse, and ate it both nights along with some fresh steamed broccoli.

Almost makes me want to cleanse more often ... almost... I said almost...

Spiced Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas and Spinach
makes 4 hearty servings

1/2 cup of quinoa
a handful each of dried yellow and green split peas
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon each of coriander and garam masala
4 curry leaves (use one bay leaf or lime leaf if you don't have curry leaves)
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
a few good grinds of black pepper
half an onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 cups of water

a big handful of parsley, chopped, stems separated from leaves
a small bunch of baby spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 can of salt-free chickpeas, drained (you could be really virtuous and used dried)

1. Rinse the quinoa and split peas well. Put them in a large pot with all the spices, onion, garlic, curry leaves, water and chopped parsley stems. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until most of the water is gone.

2. Add the parsley leaves, spinach and chickpeas and stir well. Cook for another 5 or so minutes, until the chickpeas have warmed through and the spinach and parsley are just cooked and still bright green.

3. Enjoy a beautiful, cleansing dinner.

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