Lentils, quinoa, sweet peppers and onions. Nuts, raisins and fresh parsley. This dish has enough colour, flavour and texture to please the eye and the palate alike.
Thanks to the healthful combination of pulse, slow carbs and vegetables, it will provide you with vegan protein, load you with energy from slow carbs and bless you with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibres. Amen.
As you may have realised, there is not much you could complain about. This lentil quinotto with its sweet pepper and onion roast is intended as a main dish, but there is definitively nothing wrong with serving it as a side, or as a tepid salad in the constellation of your choice. In a vegetarian diet it can be combined with an egg, or a piece of goat cheese, but really, it is quite complete as is.
I have used oblong sweet red peppers for the roast (there are many varieties that you can use, i.e. Florina, piquillo peppers, etc.), because of their tender flesh and round taste. The onions will caramelise when slowly baked on medium-to low heat and complement the peppers beautifully.
For the quinotto I used a ready mix of red quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, which turned out really good, but sticking to plain quinoa is a totally honourable decision.
- 1 cup (red) quinoa or a mix of quinoa/amaranth/buckwheat
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 cups water
- 200 g onion (1-2 onions, depending on size)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 500 g red sweet oblong peppers (i.e. Florina, piquillo, etc.)
- A small piece of grated zucchini (optional)
- A handful of roasted walnuts
- A handful of Corinthian raisins
- 0.5 tsp chili flakes
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper
- Cream of vinegar and/or balsamic vinegar, or
- 2 tbsp white dealcoholised wine
- Olive oil
- Chopped parsley
- Wash the lentils and boil them in plenty of water
- When the lentils start to soften, remove them from the stove and strain them in a colander
- Place the quinoa in a pot with 2 cups water
- Add a small pinch of salt and the lentils
- Boil on medium heat with the lid on for 10 min
- Turn off the heat and let the quinotto rest for another 5 min, until all liquids have been absorbed
- Cut the onion in thin wedges
- Cut the peppers in halves lengthwise and slice quite thinly
- Peel the garlic cloves and cut them in halves
- Heat up a tbsp of oil in a pan
- Add the onions and garlic
- Bake and stir for several minutes until the onion has softened
- Add another tbsp of oil, the peppers and the grated squash - stir
- Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper
- Add in the 2 tbsp of white wine
- Roast until the vegetables are soft and shiny
- Turn off the stove, add a tbsp or so of water and close the lid
- You can roast the nuts in a skillet with some oil or ghee. You can also preheat the oven at 150 C / 300 F and place the nuts in a oven tray. Coat with some drops of oil/ghee and roast for 10-15 min. In both cases, make sure to stir occasionally so that the nuts do not burn.
- Mix the quinotto with the raisins and roasted nuts
- Place on a serving plate
- Drizzle with some olive oil and top with the pepper and onion roast
- Finish up with the chopped parsley
- Decorate the dish with some drizzles of balsamic vinegar cream and/or add some balsamic vinegar to taste