Monday, March 21, 2011

The return of the Quinoa (now with harissa meatballs)

Remember my quinoa phase? Once I'd discovered this healthy grain, I couldn't get enough of it.  The old packet of quinoa wasn't even finished before I was buying another pack, scared that I would run out.  So.  I currently have three packets of quinoa in the cupboard. Run out? Not likely.  Better use them up, quick smart.

And another thing - do you know what's annoying (apart from an oversupply of quinoa in the cupboard)?  It's when you need something for a recipe and it's not in season.  I suppose that's why chefs are always on about cooking with what's available.  But I can't help it, if the recipe says to use pomegranate and orange, I will search far and wide for them.  Luckily, navel oranges are sweet and juicy at the moment, but poms are harder to find.  Eventually I got one, imported from the other side of the world and a bit thick-skinned and pale, but found it nonetheless.  This colouful dish is ready to go!

Harissa chicken meatballs with quinoa
serves 4

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tblsp harissa
500g lean chicken mince
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
1 tblsp olive oil
3 tblsp finely chopped mint
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
2 oranges, segmented and membrane removed

1.  For the quinoa: Bring the water to the boil, then add some salt for flavour.  Add the quinoa then cover the pan and for about 8 minutes, until the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
2.  For the meatballs: Mix the harissa and chicken mince, chopped onion and some salt and pepper until well combined.  Roll into walnut-sized balls.  Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan and cook the meatballs for about 15 minutes, turning until golden all over and cooked through.
3.  For the salad: Mix the cooked quinoa with the sliced onion, mint, pomegranate and orange segments.  Drizzle with more olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper.
4.  Serve the meatballs with the quinoa salad.

recipe adapted from olive
Not usually a fan of citrus in dishes, but the orange in this salad was fantastic, particularly due to its sweetness (just realised, it's a California orange).  Peeling the membrane off the orange segments also makes it quite presentable.

I'm also pleased that my previous recipe for Jewelled Rice with Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken is featured on the Women's Health magazine website. Click here to see it and lots more.


  1. Congrats on your magazine feature chica! I'm loving this dish. I just bought a tube of harissa and I'm itching to use it!

  2. Now you're even more famous. Congrats! Lovely little chicken balls. Mmm, tasty

  3. Yay thats awesome you're featured in the mag!! :D

    this is such a colourful dish...and so healthy too. i will give it a go soon - i have an oversupply of quinoa in my cupboard too...yeah it sucks to be in need of a not in season food!

  4. Quinoa! YUMS super food~ Love that photo of the meatballs, they looked perfect! I totally agre that your photos should go on a magazine :)

  5. Congrats on the Women's Health mention! I went through a similar phase and made a quinoa tabouli and quinoa porridge with cinnamon, honey and banana. The way it was traditionally served to us in Sth America though was in a chicken broth with bits of vegetable.

  6. This looks delicious, i love quinoa too, I cooked with pomegranate the other day too and even went out of my way to make sure they were in season in australia before committing the dish to my meal planner. But could i find one - no, i ended up with an imported one too.

  7. Ooh, congrats! How exciting =) A wonderfully colourful salad, as is this dish here, featured on Women's Health website.

  8. I love quinoa & your chicken mint harissa balls are simply perfect !!

  9. congrats on the feature! :) And your recipe reminds me to eat more quinoa soon!

  10. I am back on the quinoa wagon as well...!