Quinoa With Roasted Pumpkin, Zucchini and Basil Pesto
I love making this recipe. It’s a favourite in my home and any leftovers are quickly devoured the next day for lunch or another dinner. I love the fact that I can easily adapt the vegetables I use based around the season. Combinations such as roasted pumpkin and zucchini, asparagus and garden fresh peas, roasted eggplant, spanish onion and tomato work perfectly. The finishing touch is a generous scoop of pesto and a scattering of freshly chopped garden herbs, lemon zest and Persian Feta.
What’s good about it:
Quinoa is gluten free and has a low GI of 53 + it’s a complete protein which means that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs for repair. It’s also a good source of lysine, an amino acid important for tissue growth and repair, which makes it a perfect meal after a hard workout. Your body needs protein for repair and quality carbs to replenish glycogen and quinoa is a good source of both. Pumpkin is a great source of carotenoid antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory to the body and help to support a healthy immune system. Pumpkin is low GI, a good source of fibre that will fill you up without blowing you out. The potassium content of pumpkin ROCKS ! so it makes a perfect pre and post workout recovery fuel for the body. Potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes and supports heart and muscle function.
Greens such as fresh parsley and basil are full of superfood goodness that is anti-inflammatory to the body. Parsley is rich in chemoprotective oils that can help neutralise carcinogens as well as chlorophyll that is the single most critical substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert that light into usable energy. Chlorophyll helps to nourish the digestive system, support detoxification and elimination and helps to alkalinise the body. Garlic and black pepper are anti-inflammatory and can stimulate digestion. Using omega 3 rich oils such as walnut or flaxseed oil give an omega 3 boost.
600 g / 21 oz pumpkin cut into large chunks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 red onion, cut into wedges
6 baby zucchini, sliced
1 cup cooked quinoa
small bunch parsley chopped
1 – 2 tablespoons pesto depending on your taste
Preheat oven to 200 C.
Combine pumpkin and red onion with a little olive oil.
Season with ground pepper and a little cinnamon.
Roast for 30 – 40 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
Saute the zucchini lightly in a pan over the stove. You don’t really want to roast this as they only take 2 – 3 minutes to quickly cook in a pan. Season lightly and set aside.
Remove vegetables from the oven.
Add the quinoa, zucchini, parsely and pesto. Taste and add adjust accordingly.
Serve as is or garnish with garden herbs, Persian feta.
Spoon into serving bowls and enjoy.
Additions: Top with crumbled feta, chickpeas or ricotta or top with steamed white fish for a protein boost.
Add extra vegetables such as baby spinach or sauteed kale.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachio nut just before serving.