Quinoa pilaff with cherries and walnuts recipe

Quinoa pilaff with cherries and walnuts recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish

Quinoa is a super-healthy grain, native to South America. It has a wonderful taste and texture that is perfect for pilaffs, so it is well worth trying.

13 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200g quinoa
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 50g dried cherries or cranberries
  • 50g walnut pieces, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a large frying pan (not greased) over a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until lightly toasted.
  3. Add the quinoa to the onion in the pan, stir in 500ml boiling water, the thyme and salt and pepper to season. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10–12 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cherries or cranberries and walnuts. Serve hot or at room temperature.


*To turn this side dish into a main course meal for four, add some shredded leftover chicken breast or strips of roast pork tenderloin. Other dried fruits and nuts could be tossed in. *Quinoa can be found in health food stores and larger supermarkets. Brown rice makes a good alternative, but it takes 30–35 minutes to cook. Add more boiling water, as needed.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)

Reviews in English (3)

I have tried this recipe a couple of times now, each time it has not worked and I could not understand why. I was using it for 2 people so divided the ingredient by 3. The quinoa did not look anything like the picture. I have since done some research as we had not had quinoa before so did not know how to cook it. I have now realised that there was not enough water. I have just made some quinoa in a pan for 2 people. 60g of quinoa with 200ml of water, not 160ml as you suggest. I also soaked the quinoa first in cold water as it removed the bitter taste. After cooking it for 15 minutes on a low simmer with a lid on, I then rinsed it with boiling water and let it cool and drain. The difference was unbelievable. Light fluffy quinoa. I will freeze it and use it next time and just add it with some onion, garlic, mushrooms, the walnuts and cherries. I think next time will be a lot better. I don't think the quinoa was cooked enough before. We had it with grilled lamb.-12 May 2016

Tasty moresome and I ate it unaccompanied with anything yumm-08 Jun 2015

My partner grumbled when he knew I was making this for dinner, but he ended up enjoying it like me and wants to have it again! I served mine with salmon.-19 Mar 2011

From Diana Henry at The Sunday Telegraph Diana Henry at The Sunday Telegraph by Diana Henry

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  • Categories: Quick / easy Chutneys, pickles & relishes Main course Suppers Turkish Gluten-free
  • Ingredients: chicken thighs ground cinnamon ground cayenne pepper ground cumin garlic green chillies red chillies coriander leaves mint sprigs green olives white balsamic vinegar

Supper & brunch menu w/c 27th of June

Steamed vegetable “salad” with Indonesian nut sambal, quail’s eggs & rice

Chicken kofte with tzatziki, green beans & Jersey Royals

Pan-fried sea bass fillets with artichoke & broad bean couscous

Veal, spinach & lemon meatballs, tomato sauce & bulghur wheat served with Greek yoghurt

Roast beetroot salad with anchovy, mint & mozzarella

Asparagus & Serrano ham soldiers, toasted multigrain

Ricotta hotcakes with Sweet Eve strawberries


Easy to make and real crowd pleasers, this recipe was originally developed by Jayne Annan, Course Co-ordinator, and has become a firm favourite in Vaughan's Cookery School. You are likely to be offered them (or a variation|) with your coffee when you arrive for a class. The basic recipe is easily adapted. Think of what you like in your cookies and replace the apricots and raisins with whatever you makes you smile (or you have in the cupboard!)

Teenagers, in particular, opt for chocolate chips, whereas pistachios and sour cherres give an interesting colour combination, as well as taste and texture. Substitute the butter for dairy free spread for vegans and a gluten free plain flour blend for coeliacs. Whilst sweet, buttery things may never be described as 'healthy' food in conventional terms, something sugary and delicious is always good for the soul and, therefore, our well-being. These contain brown sugar - more nutrients than highly processed and bleached white sugar plus oats - known to be highly nutritious, lower cholesterol and provide a good source of fibre. SO, what's stopping you? Get baking .


Shortbread is such an easy recipe to remember, without having to leaf through recipe books or search on the internet. Practise now ready to give as Christmas gifts and try adding a Festive 'twist', using the variation suggested. Everyone needs a sweet treat now and then.

Good news for GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, VEGAN - scroll down to the bottom of the recipe.

There are three basic ingredients and they are in the ration of 1:2:3. This means that you don't need a recipe - you just choose how much you need and start.

1 part caster sugar (e.g. 50g)

2 parts softened salted butter (e.g.100g)

3 parts plain flour (e.g. 150g)

  1. Preheat oven to 160C/Gas 3
  2. With a wooden spoon, cream together butter and sugar until incorporated.
  3. Add flour and mix together.
  4. There will be a point at which it will be easier to abandon the wooden spoon and start to bring all together with your hands. DO NOT OVERWORK your dough at this stage as you will activate the gluten in the flour too much and make your shortbread tough.
  5. If you want individual biscuits, roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and cut out shapes.
  6. Place the shapes on a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 10 - 12 minutes (depending on thickness).
  7. Take out of the oven when they just start to colour round the edges.
  8. Leave for a few minutes then lift off the baking tray and onto a wire cooling rack.
  9. If you want shortbread fingers then press the dough into a lined or greased baking tray until the same thickness all over. This will take longer to cook as it will be thicker than the rolled out biscuits so leave for 15 - 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before making cuts in the shortbread to the size you want the fingers to be. Leave in the tin until completely cooled before lifting out.
  • To make your shortbread 'shorter' try take out some of the flour (in above quantities replace 25 g of flour) with either cornflour or semolina.
  • Brush top of biscuits with egg white and sprinkle with sugar before baking.
  • Drizzle melted chocolate over the biscuits, once they have been baked and have cooled.
  • Add ground spices to your flour e.g. cinnamon, mixed spice, crushed cardamom seeds, ginger etc.
  • Add a favourite ingredient(s) to the dough e.g. roughly chopped glace or sour cherries, pistachios, walnuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. Don't use too many combinations - think about what goes together well.

Vaughan's Cookery School favourite flavour for the Festive season:

1 teaspoon ground ginger to flour

50g chopped crystallised or stem ginger

GLUTEN FREE: Follow the same formula but use Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain flour and ignore the instruction that says DON'T OVERWORK. Work it well, as there is no gluten so it won't make your shortbread hard and tough.

VEGAN & DAIRY FREE: Replace butter with dairy free spread. As it contains a high amount of water, if your shortbread isn't 'short' (crisp) enough, when baked, take out of the oven and switch off the heat. Transfer biscuits to cooling rack, as in Stage 8 and then put back in the oven, on the rack, whilst it cools down. This will take out any extra moisture.

Tagine of lamb with chickpeas, apricots, saffron & honey

From Grains: The Definitive Guide to Cooking Grains, Seeds and Legumes Grains by Molly Brown

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  • Categories: Stews & one-pot meals Main course Moroccan
  • Ingredients: ground ginger ground cinnamon dried apricots lamb stock saffron tinned chickpeas honey pistachio nuts lamb shoulder onions garlic parsley dried barberries

Fairy cake/raisin bake experiment!

Currently untested!! Trial run will happen soon!

110g caster sugar
110g butter
80g self raising flour
2 eggs
1tsp baking powder
110g raisins
30g chopped fruit, seeds and nuts
30g oats

* Preheat oven to 170, grease and line 6 x 6in tin
* Cream together the butter and sugar
* Mix in eggs followed by flour and baking powder
* Mix in all other ingredients (add a splash of milk if mixture is too dry)
* Empty into tin and bake for approx 20 mins

Date syrup and the glycaemic index

When Southwark PCT invited me to attend a MEND programme reunion for 80 of its graduates and their parents, I offered to host a potted version of the “healthy shopping MOT” which had been such a hit at The Big Treat in July.

It goes beyond the scope of this particular post to share with you all my observations from the event and what I learned about what stops people from adopting healthier shopping, cooking + eating behaviours, but one ingredient from the “cupboard” that caught many people’s eye was a jar of date syrup.

I use this sometimes as an alternative sweetener when making flapjack- type treats and have also used it as a marinade or salad dressing mixed with tahini, spices and olive oil.

For those of you reading this who are yet to be converted to this natural sweetener, here goes.

Date syrup is high in vitamins A, B and D as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and has a low GI. You can use it as a sweetener in the same way to honey, and I think it is particularly useful for binding ingredients together in a recipe.

I cannot find date syrup in any of the GI data bases, but because it’s made from pure fruit (which is a source of fructose which is low GI) and dates are low GI, date syrup is bound to be low GI too.

Not a very scientific approach I agree, but I hope that you follow my train of thought.

The glycaemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating.

Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health.

Seesawing bloodsugar levels affect your energy levels, behaviour, concentration and IQ (and not in a good way!). And a diet high in sugar is probably the biggest cause of obesity and overweight in children. Fast releasing high GI carbohydrates – on other words refined starchy foods and sugar – cause dramatic rises in blood sugar levels and this excess sugar is then stored as fat.

Back to our dates which is what prompted this blog post in the first place!

There’s been some debate about dates being low GI, or not, between scientists.

Campbell J. Miller and his associates at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the United Arab Emirates University (dates are one of the UAE’s main exports) reported on the glycemic index of 3 varieties of dates.

One type of date, the bahrivariety, is readily available and is smaller, sweeter and a bit firmer and darker than medjool dates. Dr. Miller and his associates determined that they have a GI of 50.

Jennie Brand-Miller (no relative of the other Miller!) and her associates at the University of Sydney in Australia were the ones who originally determined that the GI of dates was 103.

So when asked about this new study she replied:

“I always had my doubts about the high value we got when we tested them. It never made sense for dates to be so high when they contain a lot of fibre as well as sugars in the form of fructose and sucrose as well as glucose. I even wondered if those dates had been steeped in glucose syrup.

“I have a feeling that the values (in the new study) may be correct because they say they tested the carbohydrate content themselves. When we tested them, we relied on the information on the package label. If the product had dried out considerably since packaging, then we would have overestimated the amount need to provide the 50 g carbohydrate portion. Hence we might have fed twice the weight really needed and therefore 100 g instead of 50 g of carbohydrate. Problems such as this come up now and again with GI testing but it is not common.”

So, dates (bahri, deglet noor, medjool and hayani) can have their place in a low GI diet which is good news.

I have always been keen on them, fresh ones still on the stalk in particular which are plentiful right now in Turkish food shops. Avoid the sticky ones, drenched in glucose, which are abundant at Christmas time, in rectangular boxes with a plastic ersatz “stalk”!

The (raw) chef Russell James writes about making date sugar on his blog.

Or try your hand at the date, walnut + sesame bars – the recipe for which I posted yesterday. Really easy, child’s play, and a nutritious treat!

Tamari turmeric sesame fry

Forgive me for being away so long… Although I have been cooking up a mountain of delicious vegetarian meals for all my hardworking interns, I have been lacking the time to snap a photo and share any recipes. The good news is the garden is ripe with inspiration and we are amid a crazy hot hot hot spell, so a little time to sneak away to a less sunny spot for a mid day blog entry is awfully appealing!

Tonights meals was a total rush job, but my friend who mentioned early in the day that she liked to toss french fries in olive oil, turmeric and sesame seeds motivated to do the same with tofu seared with fresh from the garden garlic scapes, zucchini and brown mushrooms. Yum

The seasoning in this dish is relatively subtle with hints at sesame, ginger and cilantro, chili and turmeric with the lovely garlic infusion that stir fried garlic scapes offer. Simple and fast and perfect served over brown rice with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Top 10 tips for new vegans

Travelling around, meeting and cooking for new vegans and the vegan-curious, reminds me how tough it can be at first. Many people ask me for some tips to get started, so here’s my top ten.

Changing the way we live and have eaten is not something that happens overnight for most of us. There are may ways of approaching this transition, but here are a few tips from my experience that can make things easier and result in a new healthy and positive lifestyle.


Eating a vegan diet has never been so accessible and popular. Many of us now realise that it can be such a healthy and vibrant way to feed ourselves and our loved ones. Eating vegan minimises the suffering of animals, drastically cuts pollution and can open up a lifestyle that is based on compassion and greater awareness. Yes, we do have to read the ingredients on packets and meal planning will take a little more thought at first, but these things seem minor when we take into account how much benefit we can do for animals, the planet and, with a balanced vegan diet, ourselves. Vegans generally have lower cholesterol, body fat, risks of type-2 diabetes, cancer and blood pressure. It’s a no lose situation and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

I was a vegetarian for years before becoming vegan and the transition was an instant thing. I watched a documentary and that was it. I was down to only occasionally eating cheese, but when I realised that there is no major difference between the meat and dairy industry as far as the cruelty to animals, I dropped the Christmas day Stilton for good. It just didn’t seem worth it. As things go, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I hope these tips help in your transition to a more peaceful and totally delicious way of living.

Going vegan seems to be infectious, I look around me, years later, and see many people I know and family members giving the lifestyle a go or at least cutting back on meat and dairy. I didn’t have to say anything, I just cooked!

1 – Easy does it… – I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that we all go vegan overnight. For most people, a transition period is needed. Start to incorporate vegan staples into your life and try out your new batch of vegan staple recipes, things that are quick, healthy, easy and filling that can replace all your favourites things like lentil spag bol, shepherd-less pie, macaroni cheeze, bakes/ casseroles, stews, salads, soups, curries, omelettes, pizza, cakes and cookies. These are the old school favourites that are easy to prepare and we know, most people love. They are also awesome when made vegan, everyone loves them!

Also, try out some vegan staple ingredients like nutritional yeast flakes, tofu, tempeh, nut butters, sweet potato, hummus, seitan, jackfruit these are all interesting new additions to anyones diet and with the correct cooking, are delicious and nutritious. Of course, who doesn’t love a bit of avocado on toast. Avocado is an ingredient I find most vegans love to use.

You’ll find over 200 of our vegan recipes here.

If you are struggling at first, maybe start with one day at a time and expand on that. Say, Tuesday I’m all vegan, see how it goes and if you run into issues, see how you could avoid them. Most people find it easy at home, but at work or when travelling/ eating out, slip up. Slipping up is cool, don’t beat yourself up about anything, but there are lessons to be learned there and it normally involves planning a little better. Calling restaurants in advance to check about vegan options, travelling with vegan snacks, taking out packed lunches/ dinners. It’s also sometimes a case of just being happy with whats on offer, if its only chips and a salad, no problems. By mentioning that you are vegan, the staff/ management will become aware of their growing need to adapt. Sometimes I may write an email if there are no vegan options and it’s a restaurant that I like.

2- Try a plan – I’m no great planner, but I know they can help and will certainly assist with your weekly shopping, as you begin to seek out and buy new ingredients. A vegan diet is in no way more expensive than any other, but you may need to gradually re-stock your cupboards with some new and exciting ingredients, keeping a good stock of fresh fruit and veg, dried fruit, nuts/ seeds, wholegrains and beans. Plan a little extra time for cooking vegan dishes, it will take time to learn new techniques and there can be a few more ingredients to play with in the kitchen.

You could think about trying out Veganuary, I know many people who have used it as a base to go vegan long term. There is loads of support and inspiration there. Also, the Vegan Society have a 30 day vegan pledge that is well thought out and has all the nutritional information you could need. For the record, a balanced vegan diet, based around fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts, dried fruits and whole grains is going to give your body and mind amazing nutrition, but I’d recommend your read more about vegan nutrition on the Vegan Society website. The information there is easy to follow and practical.

I don’t know about you, but I love to learn more about the foods that I eat, the fuel for my body, and how it affects my health. Nutritional deficiencies are an issue across the board, not just solely for vegans, there is a lot of misleading studies and articles out there calcium, iron, omega fats and protein can all be readily found in a vegan diet. Read up on Vitamin D, Iodine and B12 would be my advice.

3- Fill up – When you’re getting used to a vegan diet, many people say that they feel hungry. This is where I’d say fill up on high protein and carb foods. Things like pulse/ legumes, nuts and seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa etc are all high in protein. I guess the idea is to not just drop the meat or dairy from meals, but replace it with something nutritious and plant-based.

If you feel fatigued and weak at first, this will pass, remember that many athletes are now vegan and praise the diet for enhancing their recovery times and overall performance.

If you eat a lot of dairy, meat, drink alcohol and coffee etc, then just drop it all, your body will go through a detox period that can lead to fatigue, nausea and generally feeling rough. Again this will pass, but unless you’re on a planned and even supervised detox, I wouldn’t recommend just dropping everything at once. Meat and dairy also contain lots of fat, your body may crave it, maybe up the plant fats in your diet for a while.

You will most probably get cravings, stay strong and satisfy them in plant based ways. After all, things like vegan chocolate, pizza, burgers and crisps are just as amazing as the other stuff. The cravings go, hang in there!!

4- Find alternatives – This is becoming ever easier. Cheeze, sausages, burgers, pizzas, yoghurt, milks, mayo, single cream, even creme fraiche are all available in most supermarkets. You can also make your own if you have time, that is of course, our way, but the vegan diet is now convenience friendly for sure. We all need a little convenience sometimes and this can help make things more sustainable in the long run. Once you’ve found where everything is in your local shops, there will be vegan options in most places now, you can get into a new routine and whizz around in no time.

You’ll find that substituting the vegan options into your favourite recipes works. There is cheese now that melts, cream that is creamy and mayo that hardly anyone can tell the difference between. With the increased vegan market, there has been a general increase in vegan food quality.

Check out cereals and milks fortified with vitamins and minerals, these can be a great source of what we need. Most new vegans I speak to mention how much more they think about their diet and the choices they make revolving around food, for me, this is one of the added bonuses of going vegan. Educating ourselves and eating in new ways, it’s all fresh and creative.

It doesn’t all have to be pizzas, falafels and burgers, vegan cooking can be more refined. Pappardelle with Artichoke & Almond Sauce.

5 – If at first…. – You think tempeh and seitan are uurgh and tofu is not your thing, all is well. These things need to be cooked right, and when they are, I find that most people love em! However, a vegan cooks options are huge and they don’t need to be based around the classic vegan staples. There are so many ways of making plant-based ingredients shine and you will get the hang of it. Tastes change with time and who knows, maybe soon you’ll be digging seitan?!

6- Hit the umami – The big, savoury flavours, that we are used to in a meat/ dairy diet may not always be there for you when you are learning your new vegan recipe repertoire. I say, go umami! Giving up our favourite foods is not easy, we’ve enjoyed them all our lives. Things like mushrooms, yeast extract, olives, balsamic vinegar, fermented foods (kimchi!), sun dried tomatoes, tamari/ soya sauce, miso are high in umami and vegan cheeses are packed with it, like cheddar/ blue-style and Parmesan.

We can’t just rely on one big piece of roasted meat for flavour, we need to be creative, layer our flavours, tantalise our palate in new ways and be more conscious of pairing textures and colours. Roast things, fry them up, get out a griddling pan or even better, a barbecue, use big and bold sauces and dressings. The options for amazing vegan food are endless. All of this is can be a challenge, but a great one, we’ll become better cooks and no doubt, more connected with the food we eat.

I travel a lot and know that it can be easy to be vegan on the road.

7- Vegan on the road, no probs! – Check out local vegan restaurants, Happy Cow is a great source of info, and keep your eyes out for Lebanese (see above). Indonesian and Indian restaurants especially, there will be many vegan options there. I find that most countries I travel to have a wide range of traditional dishes that are already vegan. Of course, some countries are easier than others. Also, always keep plenty of snacks on you, just in case.

8- Be gentle and kind with yourself – If you slip up, that’s normal. If you are persistent, you will get there. If you miss your daily kale smoothie hit, no problems. Our diets have to be flexible and fun. Having positive intentions is the key thing and not being disheartened when you first start out. Your body, and digestion especially, may take a little time to get used to the shift, but after a few weeks, you’ll be flying!!

I believe that anyone can be vegan and very healthy, regardless of body type. Many of the difficulties that arise in the transition period are in the mind, stay positive, join friendly and supportive local or on-line vegan groups and remember that you are joining a family of people, millions strong, who live well all over the world. You’re not alone, but some people around you may be critical, which is their stuff entirely. Stay true to the ethical reasons you chose to go vegan and spread your new lifestyle by communicating positively, not being drawn into arguments (which can be tough) and living the vibrant potential that a vegan diet offers.

9- Supplements are fine – I was a little put off at first about taking supplements, but they can really help us get what we need. Many vegans take iron, omega fat, iodine and B12 supplements. Also, maybe some vitamin D unless you live in a sunny place. These are all good ideas and something that many people need a boost in, not just vegans. There are fortified foods out there which will help with keeping us shining and well.

10- Stay positive and open – If you want to do it, you will. If you stay positive, the whole process will be much more enjoyable. This is not a punishment in anyway. Going vegan should be a enjoyable thing, where you can learn and grow, meet new liked-minded people and gain new insight. There will be times when people question your choices, you don’t have to go into detail or in at the deep end all the time, you can say you like the food or just change the subject. Sometimes we don’t have the energy or resolve for a full-on debate and that is fine, many people hold strong views about a vegan lifestyle, but in my experience, most people are curious and open minded about it all, asking questions in good faith.

Just simple answers can work good for animals, good for the planet, good for us. Keeping our positive energy topped up is so important, conflict is draining, we need to take good care of ourselves physically and emotionally if we’re going to be at our best. If we want to be shining lights for a brighter future for us all, we need to charge up! If we are empathetic, and let’s face it most of us were not born vegan, we will have a much better platform for talking about veganism and a better chance that our message will be understood and considered.

We should never feel bad or shy about speaking about veganism, but should be sensitive and constructive at the same time. Again, these sometimes challenging conversations are an aspect of being a vegan that we can get used to with a little experience and support. Ask fellow vegans for advice and don’t judge others. If I communicate clearly and with sincerity, I find most people are open and receptive. My approach is, preach from the plate, cook amazing food and enjoy it! Good vegan food is a powerful message in itself.

If after, say a few months, you are no closer to being fully vegan, maybe revisit your original reasons for choosing this path. Remind yourself of the motivation, ethical or otherwise, that stirred you into wishing to make a change.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about your vegan adventures and any challenges you faced. What were the best bits? I think one thing is clear, there is no one way, but there is always your way! I feel that going vegan is not giving up anything, we’re actually gaining so much. Peace and Good luck!

Here’s our vegan cooking group on facebook if you’re looking for inspiration and support.

I also like the group Vegan Food UK, lots of like minded, friendly vegans over there.

My favourite book relating to veganism is The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle. Here’s one of my favourite vegan interviews with Will.

Carnage by Simon Amstell is brilliant and the Okja movie on Netflix I enjoyed.

Some popular vegan documentaries are What the Health, Forks Over Knives (Health), Cowspiracy (Environment), Earthlings (Animal Agriculture/ Meat and Dairy Industry), Vegucated (New Vegans)