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Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, Peppers and Avocado Purée

Quinoa (pronounced kin-wa) is a South American grain that makes a good change from rice. Here I have Caribbean-ised it. If you don't want to eat it with the puréed avocado, try an avocado salsa instead. You can also add cooked pulses -- kidney beans, black beans or chickpeas -- to this dish. Serves six.


2 red peppers, cored, deseeded and cut into 4cm/1½in squares

500g/1lb 2oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4cm/1½in chunks

3 tbsps olive oil

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper

2 tbsps groundnut or sunflower oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tsps ground cinnamon

3 tsps ground ginger

3cm (1¼in) piece fresh root ginger, grated

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

300g/10½oz quinoa

675ml/scant 1¼ pints chicken or vegetable stock or water

About 8 spring onions, chopped

Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve For the avocado purée 2 avocados, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsps lime juice

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (fan)/190°C/Gas Mark 5. Put the pepper squares and sweet potato chunks into a roasting tin and toss with the olive oil, cayenne and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, heat the groundnut oil in a heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly golden.

Add the cinnamon, ground and fresh ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the stock, stir and bring to the boil.

Immediately reduce the heat, cover and cook the quinoa on the lowest heat you can for about 15 minutes until it has absorbed all the stock and is quite dry and nutty. Leave the quinoa in the pan.

For the avocado purée, put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth.

Stir the spring onions through the quinoa and put the roasted vegetables on top. Serve with the avocado purée, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and garnished with coriander leaves.

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