Green Bean Sun-Dried Tomato & Quinoa Rissotto

Try this super sunny risotto recipe for a tasty summer main course. Good for a lunch or dinner menu, it uses Quinoa, the sacred plant of the Incas. For those new to it Quinoa, pronounced 'Keen-wa', is actually a tiny fruit, although it is used and behaves more like a grain. It is a good source of protein, and very rich in Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium. Not only does it do you good it tastes good as well, combining wonderfully with the Tomato and Basil and those Fresh Crisp Beans.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper
1 Red Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic
½ Fresh Red Chilli Pepper
200g Fresh Green Beans
80g Sun-Ddried Tomato
600ml Vegetable Stock or 1 Kallo Vegetable Stock Cube in 600ml of water
80g Pine Nuts
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves or 1 tablespoon Creamed Basil
Handful of Fresh Alfalfa Sprouts
250g Quinoa

Method

  1. Soak the quinoa in cold water for two hours then rinse well to remove the sticky outer coating - this can cause indigestion if you neglect to rinse well.
  2. Reconstitute the tomato in a little boiling water.
  3. Roast the red pepper in a hot oven until the skin has blackened, allow to cool and then remove the skin and discard and finally chop or slice thinly.
  4. Pop the pine nuts into the same hot oven until lightly toasted.
  5. Crush or finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the chilli, tomato and red onion.
  6. Wash the green beans and break them into smallish lengths.
  7. Put the vegetable stock into a pan, add the sun-dried tomato. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently.
  8. In another pan, preferably a wide, heavy bottomed one, sauté the onion in the olive oil.
  9. When the onion is beginning to soften add the chilli and garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes, stirring to stop the garlic burning.
  10. Add the rinsed quinoa and stir thoroughly, then add just enough of the stock mixture to cover the grains. Turn down the heat and stir while it cooks.
  11. Just before the mixture dries out add a little more liquid and carry on cooking and stirring.
  12. Repeat the above until the quinoa is nearly cooked, just like making a risotto with rice.
  13. Quinoa is cooked when each little grain bursts open to reveal the sprout, this usually takes around 20 minutes. So when you see the first grains begin to open, add the green beans and cook for another couple of minutes. Do not over cook the beans or you will loose that lovely crunch!
  14. When the beans and quinoa are cooked add all the remaining ingredients, stir well and serve immediately.
  15. The only accompaniment you will need is a nice crisp leafy green salad for summer perfection1
  16. Top Tip. When you buy your beans check if they are fresh by snapping one in half. If they are fresh they will break readily because of their high water content. If they are old and limp leave them well alone and try somewhere else.

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