In my recent posts here I tried to keep you inspired to do a daily juicing and eat more salads so that you feel energized and and boost your immunity naturally.
Meanwhile, I also had the chance to make a few guest publications that you may also find interesting. In the Bulgarian site Momichetata ot grada (The Girls from the City) I featured with a couple of meatless recipes to promote healthy lifestyle.
We opened the year with a recipe for lentil patties served with a thick and velvety-textured sauce of raw cashew nuts. Perfect not only for lunch or dinner but also for a healthy takeaway sandwich.
My next offer was an attempt to capture the winter sunshine in the plate – a dish that glows in golden colour and is abundant in healthy nutrients: coconut quinoa with saffron and split pea. Sea the recipe below.
In a separate publication I presented to the readers the most basic specifics of gluten intolerance and offered them a gluten-free recipe – the not so famous in Bulgaria chickpea pancake called “soca”.
And finally in the January issue of the Bulgarian magazine “The Woman Today” I had the regular publication on healthy food. This time we focused on the winter super-foods i.e the root vegetables and their nutritious and health-boosting benefits. This warming soup that combines carrots, parsnip, celeriac, rutabaga and red beans goes with the publication.
So you may call this a busy month with all these features and publications. Yet the truth is that most of the time I was focused on my personal life where something amazing happened but I will tell you about it separately.
Now, lets go back to the glowing winter-sunshine dish! This was indeed an attempt to develop a recipe that is intense in colour but also rich in nutrients and intriguing in taste. Combining quinoa which is neutral in taste with coconut shreds and a rich spice like the saffron made me more than happy with the result.
On the nutrition side, the dish although vegan is a source of complete protein thanks to the quinoa. The split pea is another interesting feature. It is rich in fiber that helps it lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. Split pea is also rich in minerals and B vitamins while in the same time it contains no fat. The phyto-nutrients in it act like weak estrogen preventing from breast and prostate cancer.
As for saffron, well this remains one of the most expensive spices on earth due to its labour-intensive production. The price might reach up to $ 6,000 per kg. Just a few strings of saffron though are enough to give a nice colour and distinctive taste to a dish. More than that can actually make the taste too strong and unpleasant. But saffron like most spices has medical application as well. It helps overcome melancholy and depression as it promotes the secretion of serotonin known as the “happiness hormone”. Due to its high price saffron may be replaced in cooking by the more cheaper but still flavour-enhancing and health-promoting turmeric.
Coconut Quinoa with Saffron and Split Pea
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup split pea
- 1 leek
- 2-3 red bell peepers
- a few strings of saffron or 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
Soak the split pea in water for a few hours.
If using saffron, soak the strings in water for 20 min.
Heat 1 tbs of ghee on the bottom of a casserole and gently stew the chopped leek for 3-4 minutes. Add the drained split pea and the spices. Stir well and cover with filtered water. Wait for the water to boil, reduce the heat and stir gently for 15 minutes.
Wash the quinoa well and add it in the casserole together with 2 more cups of water. Increase the heat until the water starts boiling and then reduce it back, allowing it to simmer for another 15 minutes in which the quinoa “drinks” the water.
Chop the peppers and add them in the casserole. Roast the coconut shreds on a dry pan for no more than 4-5 minutes and add them to the dish, mixing everything well. Let the casserole rest with the lid on for a few minutes for the tastes to mix and develop, and serve warm.