Thursday, 12 June 2014

Roast Veggie "Grain-otto"

Does anyone else drive to work in the morning or drift off to sleep at night thinking about new recipes to create? Or is that just me? Anyhow, this recipe is the result of a few nights of restless sleep, a couple of trips to work, an addiction to roast pumpkin and a hankering for wholegrains and soft cheese.

Those who know me well are aware that I rarely follow a recipe. I find it, well, somewhat restraining, too prescriptive. I like to change things up and put my own spin, or the "Emily-touch" on things. So, instead of making risotto, tonight I decided to create "grain-otto;" a mixture of different wholegrains, for a unique flavour and a substantial nutritional boost. 

Roast Vegetable "Grain-otto" 

Serves 2 people

2 cups raw, diced pumpkin
1 fresh beetroot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
2 tb black rice
2 tb pearl barley
2 tb freekeh
2 tb quinoa
1 tb sultanas
1.5 cups boiling water plus extra 1/2 cup boiling water.
1 tsp vegetable stock powder 
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup broccoli
1/4 cup walnut halves
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
cracked pepper
extra virgin olive oil 
1 handful baby spinach leaves
2 tb fetta cheese
1 tb pepitas

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Line a baking tray with foil. Place dice pumpkin and beetroot and garlic in baking tray and bake for ~20 minutes.
2. Combine black rice, pearl barley, freekeh, quinoa, sultanas and stock in a small saucepan. Cover with boiled water and heat over medium heat until water absorbed.Once absorbed, add additional 1/2 cup boiling water and continue to cook until absorbed.
3. Cut broccoli into small florets. Remove woody end from asparagus. Cut remaining asparagus stalks into 4cm lengths. Steam broccoli and asparagus for ~3 minutes.
4. Remove baked pumpkin and beetroot from oven after about 20 minutes, or when soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
5. In a medium frypan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add roasted garlic, diced onion, dried oregano and 3-4 shakes cracked pepper and cook until onion becomes translucent.
6. Add pumpkin, beetroot, sauteed broccoli and asparagus and stir to combine. Add baby spinach and cook until wilted.
7. Add cooked grains, walnuts and goats cheese and stir to combine all ingredients. Cook until cheese melts.
8. Divide mixture into 2 bowls and garnish with pepitas and extra cracked pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Note: This dish was quite satisfying as a meal in itself (due to the higher protein content of the grains, nuts and seeds), however would be delicious with the addition of smoked salmon, chicken, tofu, tempeh or chickpeas. It would also make a great warm side dish or cooled salad. Mum also had the innovative idea of using this as a stuffing in chicken breast fillets for a very satisfying meal. 

This dish provides lots of fibre, vitamin, some protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates and best of all will keep you feeling full for hours. I thought this was a delicious, quick dinner, however as mentioned above, there is lots of room for adaptation. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this recipe itself or any other creative ways you have to enjoy it. 

- Em xx

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