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Quinoa Jollof for The Guardian

Nutty & sumptuous, this recipe using wonderful quinoa instead of rice as commonly used in Jollof Rice is a true delight. This is one of my absolute favourites, eaten as a salad with mixed leaves, with a roast or as a vegetable stuffing. A great substitute is couscous or fonio, but couscous is much lighter and absorbs liquids in a different way. Whatever you can do or eat with rice, you certainly can with quinoa. You just might prefer it!

This recipe was first published in the Guardian in Nigeria, and then shared on the BBC – Cook on the Books show after which Essence Magazine featured it.

This recipe is a sort of it-girl! If I say so myself. Try it now! Haha

Jollof Quinoa

Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Serves 4


180g/1 cup raw quinoa

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 small onion, chopped

chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

5cm / 1 thumb size ginger, grated

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp curry powder

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 stock cubes

1 tsp of fine sea salt

4 large tomatoes

1 x 400g chopped or plum tomatoes, blended

1 small scotch bonnet, blended with tomatoes

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves plucked

Let’s get cooking!

For the Jollof quinoa: Soak your quinoa in cold water for up 5 – 10 minutes, transfer into a fine mesh colander, or any colander with fine perforations and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove all impurities.

Prepare a wide pan with a lid by heating a tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and stir.

Put the lid on and allow to soften for 3 minutes. Add the thyme, ginger, chilli, curry and nutmeg. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the blended tomatoes, scotch bonnet, stock cubes, salt and 250 ml or 1 cup of water if using fresh tomatoes, and if using canned, its water content will be fine at this stage. Put the lid back on and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the washed quinoa into the tomato sauce and stir well. Add 500ml of water, cover with the lid and increase the heat to high. After about a minute, when the quinoa comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Once cooked and the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, take the pot off the heat and leave covered for 5 minutes to continue to steam. Add the fresh thyme leaves for a wonderful fragrant finish, fluff the quinoa lightly with a fork and its ready to eat!

Cook’s tip: Try other wonderful grains like fonio, couscous, brown or wild rice for jollof tht is rich in fibre and full of flavour.


Spreading jollof love on the BBC



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