Moroccan Spiced Quinoa with Cranberries Recipe

We all like trying something new and fresh, right?  I think that whilst I have cooked a large assortment of grains in my time, I have kept quinoa to a minimum due to my lack of knowledge about how to cook it perfectly. Quinoa was something that I thought was only available in health food stores but after discovering it in the aisle of my local supermarket, it will for sure be making a more regular appearance on the dinner plate. 

Quinoa is a very healthy grain, it has the advantage that you can combine it with a variety of vegetables, nuts and legumes. It can also be eaten as an aperitif, in salads, as a side dish, or as a main meal.  Quinoa has 3 times more protein than rice and wheat and is also a source of fiber, iron, B vitamins, and folic acid.

Of course, one can substitute quinoa with rice and cashews to match that nutty flavour, but if you find the real McCoy then you are on to a winner.  It is not only the end result of the cooked quinoa that had the wow factor, it is also the combined spiciness of this wonderfully coloured and aromatic recipe.
Preparation Time:
Cooking Time:
Serves: 4

180g quinoa
360ml water
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ medium sized onion, diced
2 cups water
1 tsp kosher salt
1 bell pepper, diced
60g dried cranberries, rough chopped
70g blanched slivered almonds
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

  • Instructions:
  • 1. In a mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa under running water.  Drain and set aside.

  • 2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium-size saucepan fitted with a lid. Heat the oil over a medium heat and then add the minced garlic and onions. Continuously stir until the onions are translucent.

  • 3. Add the washed quinoa to the saucepan and add the water and salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, cover with the lid and reduce to a simmer until all of the water is absorbed, approximately 20 minutes.

  • 4. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking.

  • 5. Taste and season with more salt and freshly black pepper.

  • 6. Add the bell pepper, cranberries, almonds, and cinnamon to the cooked quinoa, stir to combine.

  • 7. Add the mint, just before serving gently stir into the quinoa. Garnish with additional mint if desired.