Quinoa is a fantastic addition any diet and this easy stir fry quinoa with spinach and walnut recipe will soon become a firm favourite!
Technically, quinoa is a seed although many people class it as a grain. In appearance it looks similar to couscous but, unlike couscous, it is naturally gluten-free, so makes a fabulous light alternative. It tastes a little nutty, particularly if you toast it first. It also helps you to feel fuller for longer, meaning you are less likely to want to snack between meals, which can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
Nutritionally, quinoa is high in fibre and also protein, containing nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies need for healthy functioning. It is also a good source of iron, magnesium and copper, plus, it contains omega-3 fatty acids. We add walnuts to this dish, for additional omega-3 fatty acids. The peppers and tomatoes bring a boost of vitamin C and beta-carotene. All of these items support a healthy immune system, helping to keep us in tip-top shape. Walnuts are high in calories (50g is about 344 calories), however they are so good for us in health terms.
We cook the quinoa in a separate pan, then add it into the stir fry vegetables just before serving, to create a warm tasty dish. Stirring in the spinach just before serving will soften it, allowing it to wilt – don´t cook it for too long otherwise the spinach will turn soggy.
You can enjoy this stir fry warm or cold – it makes a delicious addition to any lunch box!
Cooking tip: remember to rinse the quinoa before starting to cook it, as this will remove the bitter aftertaste.
Stir fry quinoa with spinach and walnuts recipe
Calories: 1705 total, 213 per serving
2 cups of quinoa
5 cups of cold water
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, diced
1 large green pepper
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
20 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Small tin of sweetcorn
2 large handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
Large handful parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup walnuts, toasted
Optional extra: top with ground flaxseed for additional omega-3
Rinse the quinoa well beneath running water. Drain well and place into a pan.
Cover with the cold water, and add the bay leaf and dried oregano. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat. Simmer on low heat until cooked (see packet instructions). Drain any excess water, then remove the bay leaves.
In a separate (large) pan cook the onion and celery (using water instead of oil) for a few minutes until it starts to soften.
Add the red and green pepper, dried oregano, garlic, black pepper and lemon juice and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the peppers are starting to soften.
Stir in the cherry tomatoes and sweetcorn, cook for 1-2 minutes until warm.
Add the quinoa into the pan, then add with fresh parsley, walnuts and spinach. Stir for 60 seconds, so that all is warm and serve.
La Crisalida health retreats
Here at the retreat we offer a plant-based menu, specially designed to support your health and wellbeing. Read more about the plant-based food at La Crisalida Retreats here. There are lots more plant-based (vegan) recipes on our health and wellbeing blog.
I hope you enjoy this dish – do let me know!
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).