Want to bring some Cali vibes into your kitchen? Author, Eleanor Maidment, shares her wholesome Toasted Quinoa Bowls from her new book, California: Living + Eating

Soul bowls, grain bowls…whatever you like to call them, these have changed the way we eat lunch (or breakfast, or dinner) in recent years. The key to building a good bowl is in the variety of toppings: some cooked, some raw, different colours, shapes and textures. I usually batch cook all the separate elements in bulk, then assemble different grain bowls through the week. I’ve also found that roasting quinoa after boiling it is a great way to make it that bit better. It turns nutty and golden and has much more texture. It’s also a genius way of rescuing overcooked quinoa.



25 g (3/4 oz/ 2 tablespoons) whole skin-on almonds

1 small sweet potato, cut into

5 mm–1 cm (1/4–1/2 in) rounds

5 tablespoons olive oil

400 g (14 oz) tin of butter (lima) beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

juice of 1/2 lemon

100 g (31/2 oz/1/2 cup) quinoa

2 cooked, peeled beetroot (beet), cut into wedges

100 g (31/2 oz) sunflower sprouts or pea shoots

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Pickled red onion

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon runny honey



Preheat a fan oven to 180˚C (350˚F/gas 6).

Tip the almonds into a small roasting tray (pan). Toss the sweet potato in a second roasting tray with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the almonds for 6–8 minutes until golden; tip into a bowl to cool. Roast the potatoes for 25–30 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking.

Toss the butter beans in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, some salt, the paprika and a splash of the lemon juice, then tip into the roasting pan you cooked the almonds in and roast for 12–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the pickle, toss the sliced red onion in a small bowl with the vinegar, honey and a little salt.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, tip in the quinoa and simmer for 12 minutes or until tender but still with a little bite (check pack instructions as cooking times can vary), scooping off any scum that rises to the surface. Drain thoroughly in a sieve (fine-mesh strainer), then spread out on a plate and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

When either the butter beans or sweet potato are cooked, tip into a bowl. Wipe out the tray with paper towel, then tip in the quinoa with another tablespoon of oil and toss; season with salt and another squeeze of lemon juice and roast for 15–20 minutes, stirring halfway, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Lift the onion from its pickling liquid and set aside in a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pickling liquid, then roughly chop the almonds and stir in. Tip into the toasted quinoa and stir together; check the seasoning.

To build the dish, put a layer of the dressed quinoa in the base of a bowl or on a plate. Arrange the butter beans, sweet potato, beetroot and sunflower sprouts over the top. Scatter with the pickled onion, squeeze over any remaining lemon juice and serve.

Extracted from California: Living + Eating by Eleanor Maidment (Hardie Grant, £22) 

California living and eating