How did I ever come this far in life without knowing about the sacred amalgamation of onions, celery and carrots? It has changed my culinary world forever. The colourful combination, known as “soffritto” in some parts and “mirepoix” in others, drives the flavour of this baked quinoa sensation that offers all the comfort of chicken soup or fish pie without requiring the inclusion of any animal flesh or secretions.
I have adapted it from a friend’s recipe that was adapted from another recipe that was probably adapted from a non-vegan version at some point in its genesis. This will feed four, but even when I make it for the two of us, there are never any leftovers.
- 2 cups of vegetable stock/bouillon
- 1 cup quinoa
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp cornflour dissolved in 1 cup water
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs (Italian)
- 1 cup plain vegan yoghurt (Alpro) – if this is not available it is possible to sour soya milk with a little lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 tbsp squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and add the quinoa, turn down and simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and wipe a thin coating of olive oil onto the sides of a rectangular baking dish.
- Heat the olive oil at a moderate temperature and gently sauté the carrots, celery, onion and garlic, adding them in that order at 2 minute intervals and then giving them another 15 minutes.
- Take the quinoa off the heat and thoroughly stir in the dissolved cornflour, yoghurt, mixed herbs, lemon juice, black pepper and the sautéd vegetables.
- Empty the mixture into the baking dish and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. You are looking for the top to brown nicely, so check it after about 45 minutes and finish it off under the grill, if needed, to make sure it is evenly crisp without being burned.
- Serve hot or cooled, cut into slices.