Recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

It’s getting to that time of year (let’s face it) when all we’re craving in the evening is cosy, warming comfort food! When I say comfort food, I’m not talking about loosing yourself in a pizza box or a bowl of carbonara- no, no, I’m talking about a hearty bowl of grain-loving goodness.

Quinoa is one of my favourite grains, I love its nutty flavour and it makes the base of many of my meals. Quinoa is a superfood, and is particularly special as it contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein. Because of its wealth of protein, it’s an incredible addition to those with a primarily plant based diet. It is also a great source of fibre, essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system, and regulating blood sugar levels. As quinoa is a low GI carbohydrate, it releases slower into the bloodstream, preventing sugar spikes, which keeps you energised and fuller for longer.

This risotto is full of sweet vegetables like roasted tomatoes, leeks and sweet potato which combines perfectly with the saltiness from the stock – creating a truly delicious texture and flavour combination. The avocado cream further boosts the vegan party in your mouth, and gives the dish a subtle lemon flavour.

I hope that you love this meal as much as I do. Let us know how you get on by hashtagging #hipandhealthy with all your awesome recreations on Instagram & twitters!

Quinoa Risotto with Sweet Potato, Courgette, Peas, Green Beans, Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado Cream 

1 cup quinoa
2 cups boiling water
1 cube vegetable stock
2 courgettes
handful of green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 leeks
2 sweet potato
1/2 cup green peas

Avocado cream:
1 avocado
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
juice of 2 lemons

Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Place in a saucepan. Dissolve the vegetable stock into the boiling water, and pour over the quinoa. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Peel and cube the sweet potato and place on a baking tray with the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 200 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes (or until soft).
Meanwhile prepare all other vegetables. Then make the avocado cream by blending all ingredients until smooth, refrigerate until you need it. Sauté the leeks, green beans and peas. When soft add the cooked quinoa and the roasted vegetables. Mix well, seasoning to taste.

Serve with the avocado cream and a big green salad.

Note: you may replace the stock cube with the juice of 1-2 lemons, if you are intolerant, or prefer to do so.