Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lemon and honey roasted chicken thighs with asparagus quinoa and beetroot slaw

Having heard a lot about quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah'), the new super-grain on the block, I decided it was about time to see what all the fuss was about and give it a go. Quinoa is a complete protein, which is great for those on a diet, as it fills you up in the same way rice or pasta would, but is far better for you. This is what sold me to be honest. I have to admit I'm a total carb-oholic. I love nothing more than a big bowl of pasta, or potato in any form. So to discover something that is good for you, and still gives you that same comforting 'full' feeling....that's pretty good.

A couple of key things I will tell you if your going to try quinoa. Firstly, make sure you wash it. It's a very bitter grain, and washing it thoroughly (like 3 or 4 times) helps remove this bitterness. Secondly, I think it needs to be paired with something. You wouldn't just eat a bowl of plain quinoa- it is a vehicle for flavour, but it is essential that you add flavour in the form of roasted veg, herbs, tomatoes, feta....whatever you fancy. My next quinoa adventure will be a quinoa tabouleh I think....

The below recipe is a lovely and simple mid-week dinner. It's also rather an attractive recipe, so would do perfectly for a casual dinner party with friends. Any leftovers also make a nice office lunch. I based this around a recipe from the BBC Good Food website, and added a couple of tweaks of my own. I added asparagus to the quinoa simply because I had some that needed eating, and I served my quinoa warm, whereas BBC recommend this as a cold salad (either would work). I also used fresh, multi-coloured beetroot, because I think if you can get it, it's much nicer! The honey in this creates a lovely sticky finish, as well as helping to balance out any bitterness left in the quinoa.


4 chicken thighs
3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons
2 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, cut into slices
2 tbsp runny, clear honey
250g quinoa
small bunch of asparagus

For the Beetroot Slaw:

2 beetroot, chopped finely into matchsticks
5 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 clove of garlic, crushed
small handful of dill, chopped finely

1. Heat oven to 200C. Place the chicken thighs, onions and carrots in a roasting tin. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with the olive oil and dot the lemon slices around the tray. Bake for 30 mins, then give everything a stir, drizzle with the honey and bake for another 15 mins until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa following pack instructions. Make sure you wash it thoroughly before cooking using a sieve, as this gets rid of any bitterness. 

3. Boil or steam the asparagus for 8-10 minutes till tender, then drain.

4. Mix the beetroot, yogurt, garlic, dill and some seasoning in a bowl. 

5. Drain any water left in the quinoa. Chop the asparagus into large chunks, and add to the quinoa. Add the roasted veg and 2 tbsp of the cooking juices and mix together.

6. Serve the chicken thighs and lemon slices on top of the quinoa, with a dollop of the beetroot yogurt on the side.

A sticky joy!

This beetroot slaw is just so fresh and delicious, it's lovely to have a big bowl of it in the fridge.

A good balanced meal.