For National Vegetarian Week, Becca shares a hearty meal that is loved by vegetarians and meat-lovers alike - Mexican quinoa bake!
It's National Vegetarian Week from 19th - 25th May! As a long-time vegetarian, I'm really excited - it's a great way to raise awareness of vegetarianism and to celebrate how incredible veggie food can be! These days, a lot of people are trying to cut down on their meat intake, for any number of reasons - economical, environmental, ethical... or just because they don't want to miss out on some incredible vegetarian recipes.
Even if you have no plans to go fully vegetarian, National Vegetarian Week is a great time to think about your diet and enjoy some meatless meals. Here's one of my favourite recipes that is loved by vegetarians and meat-lovers alike - Mexican quinoa bake! I know that quinoa might sound like a strange ingredient to serve to meat-eaters - one of those things that people tend to consider as being 'very vegetarian' (like lentils and tofu, but a bit harder to pronounce) - but believe me, it will only take one mouthful to convince them that quinoa is not the enemy after all.
Quinoa is a grain, much like wheat, rice and corn, but unlike some other grains, it's high in protein, and is gluten free. So, it's the perfect thing to serve to a big crowd with differing dietary requirements. Along with the beans in this recipe, no meat-eater will be left feeling hungry, and the bold Mexican flavours are tasty enough to keep everyone coming back for more. My personal favourite: the crispy, cheesy topping!
Mexican quinoa bake
500ml vegetable stock (plus extra water if needed)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 spring onions, sliced
100g sweetcorn kernels
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed (240g when drained)
4tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
250g red enchilada sauce (shop-bought or homemade
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
100g grated cheese (I used a mozzarella and cheddar mix)
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
Boil the quinoa in the vegetable stock for around 15 minutes - the quinoa should become soft and the spiral-shaped germ should detach, and the liquid should all be absorbed. If the liquid begins to dry up before the quinoa is ready, just add a dash more water and mix well. When the liquid is nearly gone, you will need to turn the heat down fairly low to prevent the quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the garlic, onion and red pepper. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are almost soft. Remove from the heat, and add the spring onions, sweetcorn, drained black beans and fresh coriander. Stir in the enchilada sauce and the cooked quinoa, and then add the spices as necessary (if your sauce was particularly spicy you might decide to skip the additional chilli powder). Season to taste, and mix well to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crispy, and the quinoa mixture is piping hot
For more vegetarian recipes visit Great British Chefs collection