Quinoa and Grilled Vegetable Salad

I’ve had one of those challenging weeks where my emotions have been up and down more times than a yo-yo. Applying for jobs, getting rejected, and wondering just what it is I'm going to do with my life now that, after the high of travelling, I'm back living at home. I certainly try to stay positive and optimistic (life could be a hell of a lot worse, I know) but sometimes, try all you might, exhaustion takes over and you’re just left feeling deflated.

Watching the sunset from a rooftop bar in Indonesia
Wish I was back at this rooftop bar watching the sun set in Indonesia

At these times in particular it can be easy to disconnect from our bodies, and not listen when it’s giving us signs to slow down or rest. It’s more important than ever when we’re feeling run down to nourish ourselves with healthy, wholesome food, so that we can give our bodies the nutrients it needs to combat the challenges we face. I also think it's important to create some guilt-free Me time- whether that be snuggling up in bed reading a book, having a long soak in the bath, or getting creative in the kitchen- it's important to create some time solely dedicated to yourself.

And that's exactly what I was doing when I made this wonderful dish. This nourishing recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Packed full of protein and a mixture of vibrant vegetables, this dish is loaded with delicious goodness that'll leave you feeling full and healthy.
Quinoa is one of the only plants considered to be a complete protein- which is great for us vegetarians who may struggle to get enough in our diet. It’s also high in dietary fibre and is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it gives us slow-release energy throughout the day. In addition, it contains many minerals, such as Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, and Iron which are all vital to maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

I used to enjoy this dish topped with crumbling feta cheese, however lately I’ve noticed a link between eating cheese and having an uncomfortable tummy ache. So I’ve made the decision to eliminate cheese from my diet for a while, to identify whether that was the cause of my discomfort or not.
But for anyone who eats cheese, feta goes great with this dish! 

      Quinoa and Grilled Vegetable Salad     

A nourishing and delicious protein rich dish

Ingredients
-Serves 4-
               200g Quinoa                  
800ml boiling water
1 bag Baby leaf salad
A medium sized aubergine, cut in to chunks
A medium sized courgette, cut in to chunks
1 red onion
2 sweet potatoes
10 cherry tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper

Method

1)      Rinse the Quinoa thoroughly, then place in a pan of boiling water. Simmer for 15-18 mins.
2)      Meanwhile, chop the aubergine, courgette and onion, and place on a piece of tin foil on top of the grill pan with the cherry tomatoes.
3)      In a bowl, mix the olive oil, crushed garlic, and salt and pepper.
4)      Baste the vegetables in the garlic and olive oil mixture, and grill under a medium-high heat.
5)      Chop the sweet potato and place in the microwave (preferably on ‘potato’ setting) for 5-8 mins or until soft.
6)      Keep an eye on the grilled vegetables, turning when necessary.
7)      When the quinoa has soaked up all the water, stir in the parsley and lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper.
8)      When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the grill. Take the sweet potato from the microwave and cut in to chunks. Mix with the quinoa.
9)      Place on a bed of baby leaf salad. Option to top with feta. 

Let me know if you give it a try!
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