Quinoa and Vegetable Soup

  Ok, Ok. I know this is my second soup post in a row.

But as Winter has well and truly arrived, we are all craving meals that will warm us from the inside out. So much so, that I find myself making a batch of homemade soup most weeks.  Perfect for lunch, and dinner – and generally with enough yield for us to tuck some away in the freezer for an easy meal at a later date too.

This particular soup turned out to be rather lovely indeed. Packed with vegetables, beans and quinoa, and flavoured with tomatoes and lots of fresh parsley – well it was full of nutrition and, most importantly, flavour!

Actually, I think I might make another batch today!

Print Recipe
Quinoa and Vegetable Soup
Course Soup
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot, and sautee the onion, carrot, celery and garlic for 5 minutes - or until starting to soften.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes, and stir to combine.
  3. Add the quinoa, and simmer gently for 15 minutes - stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the beans, and more water (if the soup is too thick). Season to taste.
  5. Divide among serving bowls and top with fresh parsley.
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Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers

With the warmer weather having (finally) arrived, I expect you will see more and more BBQ-cooked meals on the menu at our place. For why mess up a pan and heat up the kitchen, when you can cook dinner on the BBQ outside instead!

And while I enjoy the ease and simplicity of throwing some steak or sausages on the BBQ, those dinners can get a little meat-heavy when repeated throughout the warmer months. Instead, it’s nice to change things up a little from time to time –  and these vegetarian sweet potato and quinoa burgers are just perfect for a meat-free BBQ meal.

Combining sweet potatoes, chickpeas and rice / quinoa, you can easily make these burgers in advance and keep them in the fridge until it is time to grill. Throw some extra vegetables on the BBQ too – and you will soon have yourself a tasty meal with very little fuss!

Print Recipe
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers
Course BBQ
Cuisine BBQ, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course BBQ
Cuisine BBQ, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
  1. Steam sweet potato for 5 minutes or until tender. Mash, then set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place cooked sweet potato, chickpeas, paprika and cumin in a large bowl, and mash until well combined. Stir through the rice / quinoa and egg, until well combined.
  3. Shape the mixture into 4 large patties, and place on a plate covered with baking paper. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm.
  4. Cook patties on the BBQ or a large frypan (sprayed lightly with oil) for 10 to 15 minutes (turning as required), or until golden brown. Serve with salad and toasted Turkish bread.
Recipe Notes

I served these patties with salad, but you could easily serve them 'burger-style' in a bread roll too.

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Mushroom quinoa “risotto” with roasted tomatoes


While I love risotto, sometimes it feels a little heavy for dinner (particularly if I am eating close to bedtime). A solution? Use another of my favourite ingredients in place of rice..


The added bonus being that it is quicker to prepare and packed with protein (especially if you are opting to otherwise keep the dish vegetarian).

On this occasion, I packed out the ‘risotto’ with mushrooms, zucchini and a good helping of spinach. The overall result was full of flavour, but not too heavy, and it turned out to be quite the tasty midweek meal.

img_1130 Finished with some cherry tomatoes that I had roasted in the oven until soft and starting to caramelise – which added nice little sweet bursts to the dish.

I’ll have to remember this dish for next time I have vegetarian friends in town!

Mushroom quinoa “risotto” with roasted tomatoes (serves 2)

  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 0.5 cups water
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 brown onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tri-colour quinoa
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place tomatoes on a lined backing tray and spray lightly with oil. Roast for 10 minutes or until starting to soften.
  2. Bring stock and water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Lower heat.
  3. Heat oil in a separate fry-pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook for a few minutes, or until starting to colour.
  4. Add the garlic and zucchini, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute, coating the grains in oil.
  6. Add the warm stock mixture, one ladle at a time. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next. Repeat until all the stock is used and the quinoa is cooked.
  7. Stir through the parmesan and spinach, and stir until the spinach has wilted.
  8. Divide the risotto amongst two serving bowls, and top with the roasted tomatoes.



Chilli lime pulled pork quinoa bowl


Whenever I make a batch of pulled pork (and thanks to my slow cooker it happens quite often), I always make sure to portion some out to freeze. It was a tip I picked up from Jamie Oliver, I think, who confirmed that it could be frozen then defrosted down the track to make for a speedy dinner.

And recently, I did just that.

I found a portion of pulled pork in the freezer which I reheated slowly in a frypan, adding a good dash of chilli sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime at the last moment to really make the flavours sing!

Then, what to serve it with?


On this occasion I went with cooked quinoa, lettuce, cucumber, and a little tomato / onion / coriander salad. Not to mention the rest of a roasted corn and chorizo salad that we had leftover from the night before, along with a dollop of natural yoghurt and harissa hummus.


At the last minute I came across some tortillas in the freezer too, which came back to life in no time at all with a short burst in the microwave.


And so this chilli lime pulled pork quinoa bowl came to life. A combination of fresh, frozen and leftover ingredients – packed to the brim with flavour.

Another dinner bowl that I will no doubt attempt to recreate at some point in the future!

Warm Chicken and Quinoa Salad

If I needed any reassurance that we are a long way from Summer, the fact it was minus 4 on my morning walk was proof enough. Crunchy white grass met me as I stepped outside, and the neighbourhood cars were covered with a thick layer of frost.

I was pretty warm with my 4 layers of clothing on (plus gloves and beanie), admittedly, although my nose wouldn’t stop running and I returned home with a nice ‘red cheek’ glow.  And my cravings throughout the day were a long way from the salads I normally have for lunch. Instead I opted for a big plate of comforting pasta, without a moment’s hesitation.

Although salads do tend to lose their appeal in Winter, this one was still a winner. The fact it was warm probably helped, and the quinoa added a nice feeling of ‘bulk’ to what was, in all reality, a rather light dinner.


I opted to oven-bake the chicken (free house heating!), although you could quite easily pan-fry the chicken too – if that is your preference.  And feel free to play around with the ingredients – depending what you have on hand!

IMG_8147 Warm Chicken and Quinoa Salad (serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked per packet directions
  • 2 x small chicken breasts (or one large)
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon + extra
  • 1 tbs olive oil  + extra
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1tsp minced lemon grass
  • chopped sundried tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives (as many as you like)
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • The kernels from one corn-cob
  • 1/2 avocado (or more if you like), sliced
  • a handful of chopped parsley and coriander + extra to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, zest, oil, ginger and lemon grass in a small bowl.
  3. Place chicken and  in a baking dish, and pour over the oil mixture. Turn to coat well. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients, and divide among serving bowls. Top with the sliced chicken and remaining herbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

What about you? Do you crave salads in Winter?

Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl


What a wet and wild weekend that just was!

We stayed mostly in the warmth and comfort of home, with some baking and lots of games being the name of the weekend. We did, however, sneak out for a little parents-only dinner which was rather lovely too – and we are officially converted to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Uber!

And while I finished the weekend with a belly-warming balsamic roast beef, with all the Sunday roast sides, I made a promise to myself that I would clear the archives first before posting “live”.

And this spectacular sweet potato buddha bowl has been lying dormant in the archives for too long, despite being quite the tasty mid-week meal.

And not to mention healthy.


Inspired by a Taste Magazine recipe (you can find the recipe online here), it took less than half an hour to make. I used quinoa in place of freekeh, and built the salad with roasted sweet potato, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, kale (that had been ‘massaged with olive oil), and some crunchy salad seeds.

Made all the more special with a spicy roasted capsicum sauce on the side (simply roasted capsicum, blanched almonds, chilli flakes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar – processed until smooth).
IMG_6678 Yes, friends, this is now one of my favourite ‘go to’ salads. Great for lunch, and substantial enough for dinner too.

Roasted pumpkin, quinoa and feta salad


It’s safe to say, I’m a salad girl.

Perhaps it was ingrained in me when I was young – when a big bowl of salad would make an appearance on the family dinner table every other night. Although, on reflection, those salads were pretty standard and definitely reflective of the time. No mesculin or interesting tomato varieties – just plain ol’ icerberg lettuce, white onion, carrot and cucumber, topped with sliced cheddar cheese and drizzled with, most probably,  French dressing. Out of a bottle.

Then came high school, when I would usually spend my lunch money on a freshly made salad roll (being sure to ask for ‘no beetroot’ as it made the roll soggy by lunchtime).

Flash-forward to uni, where my love of salad continued. In fact, with a ‘poor’ uni student budget meaning a lot of my meals consisted of hot chips and beer from the uni pub after class, I really looked forward to the treat of a warm chicken salad a few times a week from a  favourite local cafe.

Over the years, my salads have become a little fancier. The local greengrocer stocks a good range of interesting salad leaves, tomato varieties and I should probably take out shares in avocados given the amount I consume!  And while cheddar cheese doesn’t normally feature in my salads any more, other cheeses, such as feta, sure do!

I’ve heard that famous catch-cry  “you don’t win friends with salad”,  but l I beg to differ. For a salad that graced our dinner table over the weekend, when we had some dear friends around for a BBQ, did not disappoint. And I’m pretty sure that our friendship remains intact. Despite salad, a roasted pumpkin and feta salad in fact, being served.


I could give you the recipe – but there really is not a lot to it. Simply slices of jap pumpkin and red onion, drizzled with olive oil and baked for 30 minutes at 180C. Then drizzled again – this time with balsamic vinegar – and roasted for a further 20 minutes until golden.


Combined with a cup of cooked quinoa (I used white as that was what I had), a pile of mesculin and a cup of various mini tomatoes which I had halved. Finished with a liberal amount of crumbled feta and a squeeze of lemon juice.

IMG_7961 Yes I think this love affair will be a long one!

What about you? Are you a salad fan?

Quinoa and smoked salmon sushi

IMG_5485 It’s been a little hectic of late, or perhaps feeling hectic is just the new norm (particularly in the lead up to Christmas)? One thing that remains constant, however, is our assurance of a home cooked meal most evenings. In fact, after a busy day kid-wrangling, teleconferencing and document reviewing, I quite look forward to my little bit of time in the kitchen. Tinkering away at dinner after Little J has gone to bed and Miss C is reading stories with her dad. The whole process can be quite therapeutic, really. IMG_5481 On this occasion it was sushi, but with cooked quinoa in place of rice. The other usual suspects were there though – smoked salmon, avocado, carrot, capsicum and cucumber. IMG_5478IMG_5483IMG_5484 I made four large rolls – two for ‘now’ and two for ‘later’,  served with  a simple side salad. Sadly I’d forgotten the wasabi and pickled ginger, but they were tasty never-the-less. Not to mention colourful! IMG_5486 And my verdict on the quinoa substitute? Loved the crunch! Definitely a substitute to keep in mind for the future. IMG_5487 I do, however, have to work on my sushi rolling skills – they are pretty hopeless. What about you? Are you a fan of sushi?

Sweet potato, broccoli and quinoa salad

IMG_2976 Taking a look back into the depths of my photo archives, I was shocked to see that this tasty little dish had not found its way onto the blog. For if I remember correctly, it was rather delicious – and a perfect lighter meal when the warmer weather hits. Sweet potato, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with ground cumin and coriander. Roasted for 40 minutes at 200C. . IMG_2973 Combined with a cup of cooked quinoa, baby spinach, steamed broccoli florets and cherry tomatoes. IMG_2975 Piled high, and finished with a sprinkle of slivered almonds and dressed with this gorgeous spiced beetroot finishing vinegar. The perfect sweet / sour combination to pull the whole dish together. IMG_2974IMG_2980 Definitely a salad that I see us making more often now that Spring has arrived! What about you? Discovered any delicious salad combinations recently?

Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto

IMG_4221 Happy Monday lovely people! Let’s start the week off with a recent dinner that wasn’t created in the slow cooked. Yes, rare I know. Recently, at least. I can’t even remember where the inspiration for this dish came from. It probably had something to do with my ongoing love affair with quinoa, and a bunch of vegetables in the crisper that needed to be used. Quinoa, garlic , shallots and white wine – simmered with ladles of stock until cooked. IMG_4208 Finished with a mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and chicken… IMG_4210IMG_4214IMG_4218 And served with a big sprinkling of parmesan cheese. IMG_4220 The end result being a lovely new take on an old classic, full of protein and flavour, but without the heaviness of a regular risotto. IMG_4224 Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto (serves 2 – 3)

  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 600ml stock
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 400g cooked chicken, diced
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful spinach
  • Grated parmesan to serve
  1. Place stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté shallots and garlic in a little olive oil in a large frypan, until starting to soften. Add the quinoa, stirring to coat.
  3. Add the wine, and allow to evaporate.
  4. Add the warm stock – a ladleful at a time, simmering over a medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring as needed, for 15 minutes or so, or until all the stock has been added and the quinoa is cooked.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to heat through.
  6. Divide among serving bowls and top with grated parmesan.

What about you? Do you have a favourite risotto combination?