The Coeliac UK Gluten Free Challenge: Day 5

Today’s recipe relies heavily on a number of ingredients it appears quite a few people dislike – quinoa, coriander and celery.

Quinoa is a gluten-free pseudo-grain from South America. People say it’s nutty but to my buds its averagely bland, with a pleasant granular texture. I like its appearance when cooked – transluscent beads, with a white tail or ring, like miniature little saturns.

Celery is far more interesting cooked than raw. My mother roasts it and I like it both braised and stir-fried. So even if you hate it in salads or stuck into a bloody Mary, try it in other forms if you haven’t already. If you can’t stick it, replace here with a fennel bulb.

Coriander is a lovely citrus-y fragrant herb – but if you hate that as well you can always use parsley instead.

Ingredients (for 2)

150-200g quinoa
150-200g cooked prawns
2 small carrots
2 sticks celery (or a fennel bulb)
1 small onion
2 tsp bouillon powder
1 lime
Lots of fresh coriander (or parsley)

Rinse and drain the quinoa then tip into a saucepan along with all the vegetables, chopped small. Add enough water to submerge the ingredients and add bouillon powder. Bring to a simmer and cook, adding more water as it’s absorbed or boils off. When the quinoa starts to change appearance and go transluscent, add the prawns and continue to cook until the white germs of the quinoa are detaching and the water has all been absorbed. Remove from eat and add juice (and some cells) of one lime and stir in lots of chopped coriander or parsley. Serve.

This is the first recipe I ever tried with quinoa, and although I sort of made it up myself, it was heavily influenced by Michelle at Foods Matter, a big fan of quinoa and coriander (and lentils and okra…) whose recipes are always imaginative and well worth trying. There’s an interesting looking quinoa, courgette and okra one there at the moment…

To learn more about Coeliac UK’s Gluten-free Challenge, click here.


  1. Michelle

    How could anyone dislike coriander!! Food of the gods…. But I would say that, wouldn't I. But the recipe looks delicious – and I do agree about cooked celery – greatly undervalued.
    Don;t wish to be picky but…. Did you check that the bouillon was gluten-free?….

  2. Alex G

    Absolutely – and thanks. I wonder if it might be good cold? Yep – it's Marigold bouillon – confirmed gluten-free (and a permanent essential in my kitchen).

  3. Toucan Scraps

    welldone on finding somewhere with a glutenfree menu. Only place I can get gluten free food in our town center is Boots in the baby food department….

    I hope that this awareness week means more options open up to us.

    Quinoa comes in red aswell as white for variety. And we like to eat it raw – we sprout it and then use it for salads instead of cous-cous or barley etc. It has more flavour raw & sprouted than it does cooked.

  4. Alex G

    Well I cooked this myself but I presume you mean Carluccio's in the previous day's post? My friend chose the place and I had no idea it had a specific GF menu so it really was nothing but luck!

    I hope so too re: options. I think a lot of good has been done – and Coeliac UK have got a lot of publicity, especially on the radio.

    Yes, I've heard quinoa comes in several colours. Am fascinated by sprouted raw quinoa. How do you do it?

  5. Wildgardener

    Good luck with the challenge Alex – and with raising the profile of the GF cause.
    My GF challenge started last September with a surprise diagnosis of coeliac. I didn't know anything about it, but your book put me straight.
    To date I've managed to keep gluten free, but it makes eating out a nightmare. And whatever people tell me I'm never going to be convinced that quinoa is fit for human consumption…

  6. Alex G

    Thanks Julian – I was unsure about quinoa at first, but it does grow on you. I'm convinced it just takes one good recipe to sway you! Search the site for quinoa and there will be lots!
    Glad the book helped – thanks!


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