Sunday, 11 January 2015

SUMA: Rocket & Roses Amaranth & Quinoa Cajun Vegetable Salad (vegan & gluten-free)

Rocket & Roses Kitchen Play List:

Rita Ora ~ I Will Never Let You Down
Van Morrison ~ Brown Eyed Girl
Bree Sharp ~ Not Your Girl
Bonnie Raitt ~ Love Sneakin' Up On You
Kaiser Chiefs ~ Ruby
Ray Charles ~ A Fool For You
Little Angels ~ Too Much Too Young
T-Rex ~ 20th Century Boy
The Union ~ Amazon
Bing Crosby ~ Beautiful Girl
Kings of Leon ~ Closer
Portishead ~ Undenied
Depeche Mode ~ Higher Love
Rascal Flatts ~ Close

I had a very happy cooking experience yesterday. I had help which was very much appreciated at this moment in time. I had three helpers..ML did the 'hot' work and my nephew Myles did the 'turbo' work and my littlest niece Layla did..well just about everything I would allow her too. For a three year (OK almost 4) old she can peel carrots at an amazing speed. (No children were harmed in this effort..she uses a very safe and sturdy knives!) I was positioned at my dining table with my ingredients, my notes and chopping board and they were my legs and my constant source of joy. And every effort that went into my Suma posting this time is a shared one..well except for the recipe creation. That was all me after being sat with a list of my ingredients waitng for inspiration to hit...and it took some time but eventually it arrived. Phew! 

Amaranth seeds are something I've wanted to test out for some time. They are a great source of protein, are gluten-free and a good source of the amino acid lysine but I was clueless when it came to using them. When inspiration hit, it came in the form of a tabbouleh type salad but I wanted to mix it up a little. I decided to make a Cajun tabbouleh. At this time of year I crave cold foods...I know, strange. I think its usually a reaction to all of the festive treats I've enjoyed. Our first attempt at cooking the amaranth..(after a debate between ML and I...I wanted to use the 20 min cooking method I had found online and ML wanted to use the package instructions)...turned out to be amaranth porridge (smug chuckles). After starting again and adding in red quinoa we had a beautiful bowl of perfectly cooked 20 minutes..ahem. Anyway...

Infusing the amaranth and quinoa with a light veggie stock and one minced garlic clove worked really well and gave the seeds a savoury edge. Cooked black eyed beans were chosen and added to the large salad bowl. I wanted this salad to be packed with flavours..each veggie was hand picked and I made sure to include the cajun 'holy trinity' of celery, pepper and onion.

I had already decided to use some Suma Cajun spices which I wanted to lift the citrus based dressing for the salad. When making the dressing it was a conscious decision to add natural citrus juices and use a 'healthy' oil. I chose rapeseed(canola) and used only a small amount but if you wish to use more than please do so. Myles and Layla were busy hand juicing oranges and limes for me as I measured out the oil and spices. I couldn't stop little Layla from dipping her fingers in the dressing and for a little one who doesn't like spicy/fizzy food...she loved it. And went on to ask for it to be drizzled over her pasta at lunch. Too cute. Soon our large bowl of salad was dressed and stored in the fridge until I wanted lunch.

I was delighted with this salad. It was crammed with differing textures and the amaranth and quinoa worked perfectly as the grain base. The beans brought added wholesomeness and the veggies provided great crunch and freshness. The cajun spiced citrus dressing brought every mouthful together with a heady citrus and warming spiciness. The cajun spices worked as a little heat is felt but not overpoweringly so. I had a 1 1/2 cup serving and that was more than plenty. Next time I would have 1 cup and add a crunchy green side salad. 

As always I would like to thank Suma Wholefoods for my place amongst the Suma Bloggers Network and the chance to create new recipes. And special thanks to Amy who keeps us all organised. You rock chick!  

Special thanks to my team of helpers...ML, Myles and Layla..I really couldn't have done it without you. And may we always dance to Rita, little Layla! I'm a very proud Auntie this weekend. and recipes etc, eh? 

Rocket & Roses Amaranth & Quinoa Cajun Vegetable Salad

Rocket & Roses Amaranth & Quinoa Cajun Vegetable Salad                      
(Original recipe from the Rocket & Roses Vegan Kitchen)                         

1/2 cup amaranth seeds
1/2 cup red quinoa seeds 
1 1/2 cups light veggie stock 
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 small onion, trimmed 
1 med carrot, peeled and finely diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, de-seeded, finely diced
2 med vine-ripened tomatoes, de-seeded, finely diced
1 heaped 1/2 cup fine green beans, trimmed and cut into 
                    1/2 cm pieces
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely diced
1 large handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped down
whole leaves of flat leaf parsley for scattering

1 14oz tin of black eyed beans, rinsed well and drained

For the dressing:
juice of 1 1/2 juicy oranges
juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp Suma Cajun spices
2 tbsp rapeseed/canola oil 

Place the amaranth, quinoa, stock and garlic into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain of any excess water. Then rinse with filtered cold water and leave to drain off. (ML's handy hint: Use a very fine sieve for this as the amaranth seeds are small and would fall through a regular sieve)

Place the onion in a small bowl and pour over some boiling water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Then remove and dry off and finely chop. Add them to a large salad bowl. (Reds note: I do this with onion to take off the rawness as I really dislike raw onion...I find this helps it be more palatable for me.)

Place all the prepped veggies and the drained beans into the large salad bowl and stir well to evenly distribute. Check the grains to make sure they have released all rinsing water and press gently to help if not. 

In a small bowl add the orange and lime juices with the Cajun spices and mix well. Leave to soak in for 5 minutes. Then whilst whisking drizzle in the oil. Whisk to emulsify. 

Add the well drained grains to the vegetables and beans. Stir well to evenly distribute the grains with the vegetables. Then pour over the dressing and stir quickly to coat all the grains, vegetables and beans well. Cover and leave to sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Then serve...


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week starts well...


NB: This is my creation and I have no problem with you using it or sharing it. I simply ask you give credit and links back to where its I always try to. Many thanks ~R~