Ancient grains

Quinoa, amaranth, roasted tomato and bell pepper soup recipe from Ancient Grains.
Quinoa, amaranth, roasted tomato and bell pepper soup recipe from Ancient Grains. Photo: Supplied

Who is this book good for? The fad-follower, or anyone interested in broadening their carb intake beyond medium-grain rice and wheat pasta.

Summary: Catherine Saxelby may be a nutritionist, but don’t hold that against her, or this book. There are plenty of recipes here that look and sound appealing; beef burgers with oats and balsamic onions anyone? Plenty of fodder for those on gluten-free and vegan diets including nutritional notes and cooking tips for ‘‘ancient grains’’.

Recipe extract:

Quinoa, amaranth, roasted tomato and bell pepper soup

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free
Serves: 4-6
Preperation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours


230g whole ripe tomatoes
1 medium red capsicum1 large brown onion
2 celery sticks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
4 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
1⁄3 cup (60g) red quinoa
1⁄3 cup (70g) amaranth grain
1 cup water
Flaked salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Flat-leaf parsley to serve
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a flat baking tray with kitchen baking paper.

Cut the tomatoes in half, and place them onto the baking tray. Quarter and deseed the capsicum, and place the pieces onto the tray. Bake for 1 hour or until the capsicum is soft, turning the vegetables once during cooking.

When the vegetables are ready, remove them from the oven. Place the bell pepper pieces into a plastic bag to cool (this will allow them to sweat a little, which makes it easier to remove the skin), before taking off the skin. Place the tomato and bell pepper flesh into a blender jug and mix until smooth.

Finely chop the onion and celery. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and add the onion, celery, and fennel seeds. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pureed tomato and bell pepper, as well as the vegetable stock. Cover and bring the soup to the boil over medium–high heat. Add the quinoa and amaranth, and cook the soup for 40–50 minutes or until the grains are tender. If the soup begins to thicken too much, add extra water 120ml at a time.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup topped with parsley as well as a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

TIP To toast the fennel seeds, preheat a small frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the seeds, and cook for 2–3 minutes or until they are fragrant and lightly browned.