quinoa, lentils, brown rice & roasted mini capsicums

7th April 2010

Over the last few weeks, since the weather has become cooler, I have been attempting to get my vegetable garden back into some sort of order.  Our Summer was a very hot one, so any seedlings that were planted quickly wilted and did not thrive.  Finally, I have been able to see some progress.  My first plucking of anything other than rocket or herbs has been these cute mini capsicums in orange, yellow and red.  They are just beginning to ripen in bunches that are perfect roasted whole.

I decided to use them in my ‘one pot’ rice and lentil dish.  Another variation on the dish I posted earlier this year.  A perfect dish when a ‘no fuss’ healthy dinner is the plan and there are limited supplies in the fridge/pantry.  This time, I roasted cubed pumpkin with the whole mini capsicums.  Cherry tomatoes would also be perfect, but I did not have any on hand.

brown rice quinoa lentils  & roasted vegetables

Any mixture of grains or lentils you have on hand can be used.  I used 1 cup of grains to ½ cup lentils, then nearly double the water.  I would not use red lentils as they just go mushy – a lentil that stays whole when cooked works best.   Also, any nuts or combination of vegetables to roast would work nicely as well (cubed fresh beetroot, sweet potato, turnip, whole cherry tomatoes, cubed eggplant, zucchini).


½ cup brown rice

½ cup quinoa (white or red, or a mixture)

¼ cup brown lentils

¼ cup French green lentils

2¾ cup water

¼ pumpkin, peeled and cubed

handful whole mini capsicums or a large one, in chunks

1 tsp fennel seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp olive oil (or oil from labne)

3 – 4 heaped Tbsp labne (or drained Greek yoghurt/feta)

a generous handful of fresh continental parsley and basil leaves

2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted and lightly smashed

salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2.  Rinse rice, quinoa and lentils and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with water.  Bring to a gentle boil, and return to simmer.  Cover and leave undisturbed until all water has evaporated, about 20 – 30 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, toss pumpkin and capsicum in a sprinkling of olive oil and the fennel seeds and place in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Bake until edges begin to brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.

4.  When water has absorbed into the rice mixture, fluff with a fork, then add lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix in well and add roasted vegetables, labne, herbs, pine nuts.

5.  Season with salt and pepper and serve either warm or cold.

 Goodness shared from Donna

roasted potato & beetroot salad

3rd October 2009


If you have been following our blog, you would have discovered that I love roasted kiphler potatoes and I love labne.  My garden is facing an ageing crisis at the moment as a lot of my produce has gone to flower due to not enough time spent nurturing it.  So, determined to start afresh, I spent the afternoon pulling, ripping, chopping and digging.  Thankfully, I could salvage some of the remains, a crop of ballooning beetroot and some baby ones I planted recently.


So, for dinner, I decided to incorporate these into a warm salad with those spectacular crunchy, crispy kiphler potatoes tossed with a fennel infused labne.  If you cannot find labne, which is a Middle Eastern cheese made from yoghurt, I have included a recipe for it below.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, I use one from ‘Barambah Organics’, which is a Queensland company.


roasted potato & beetroot salad


the desired quantity of kiphler potatoes, halved

 baby beetroot, halved or larger ones in chunks

olive oil

flaky sea salt

pinch whole fennel seeds

2 – 3 rosemary sprigs, chopped roughly, including stalks

1 or 2 generous scoops of labne


1.  Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius or 200 if you have a hot oven.  Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Toss potatoes in a generous splash of olive oil, rosemary, fennel seeds and a good pinch of salt.  Add beetroot and toss to coat in oil.

3.  Place in a single layer with flesh side down on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake for a further 15 minutes or until golden brown.

4.  While still warm, transfer vegetables to a serving bowl and add generous scoop or 2 of labne.

Serve as is or add chopped fresh mint for extra flavour.


how to make labne (yoghurt cheese)


Take a container of a good quality Greek-style yoghurt, place in a colander or preferably a muslin-lined sieve and place over a bowl to drain. Place saucer on top along with a 500g weight and refrigerate overnight (this will press out as much liquid as possible).  Discard liquid from bowl and roll labna into small balls or large blobs if prefer. Place the balls in a jar with a good olive oil, flaky sea salt and add ¼ tspn fennel seeds (optional, but very tasty).  Store in fridge. Other seasonings can be added if prefer – thyme sprigs, whole black peppercorns, whole dried chilli, rosemary sprigs, etc. The olive oil from the labne can be used as well, particularly in the above recipe when tossing the potatoes.

Shared goodness by Donna

smashed potatoes with labne

28th June 2009


I love potatoes.  My mother-in-law makes a wonderful dish where the potatoes are boiled in their skins, then drained;  a cross is cut into them;  salt, rosemary and olive oil added;  then roasted.  Too good!  I make them quite often.

As mentioned in my previous post, the smashed potato dish was the highlight.  Adding the labne (I use an organic one from Barambah Organics), while the potatoes were still hot allowed the creaminess to be soaked up where the flesh was exposed, and to coat the skin parts with a thick layer.  Mmmm….perfect on a rainy, chilly night.

smashed potatoes with labne


the quantity of kiphler potatoes, left whole and unpeeled (or other variety, if wish)

sea salt crystals

extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil

a decent scoop of labne (yoghurt cheese)

¼ tsp whole fennel seeds


1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line flat baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Boil potatoes in large pot of water until tender, but firm.  Don’t overcook as will fall apart.

3.  Arrange potatoes in one layer on the tray.  Make slits in each potato, one horizontally and 2 – 3 vertically (if kiphler).  Press down on each potato with a fork, so potato splits and separates.


4.  Drizzle a little olive oil over each potato and generously sprinkle with salt.

5.  Roast potatoes in oven until brown, crusty and crispy, about 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven.

6.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine labne, fennel seeds and a little olive oil (only if necessary).  Mix until a smooth paste forms.

7.  When potatoes are cooked and while still hot, stir through labne.  Serve at once.


 Shared goodness from Donna

labane, wild rocket & cherry tomatoes in a salad

20th June 2009


……ripening, ruby-red, plump and juicy.  In our household, I am the only one who eats a fresh tomato, so side dishes are necessary.  Being married to a shift worker has its downfalls, but it also has the benefits of being able to cook my preferred dishes of wholefood, natural vegetarian.  So, last night this salad accompanied the roasted rosemary kiphler potatoes in a previous post.

rocket tomatoes & basil with a fennel labne dressing

Labne is a yoghurt cheese. I use one from ‘Barambah Organics’(a Qld company)- Labna yoghurt with fennel and sea salt.  Very creamy with a consistency thicker than sour cream. Great spread on sourdough toast with tomato and wild rocket. By allowing tomato mixture to rest at room temperature, it allows the flavours to develop with the tomato juices.

Recipe serves 1 – 2 as a side dish.


12 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 4 Roma, diced)

8 fresh basil leaves, torn

2 Tbsp labne

¼ tsp fennel seeds

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

cracked black pepper

2 handfuls of wild rocket


1.  Place tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and add basil leaves.

2.  Mix fennel seeds with labne and a little olive oil, enough for a thick, spreadable consistency, then lightly stir this into tomatoes – let sit for at least 30 min. at room temperature.

3.  Toss tomato mixture with rocket leaves.  Taste, and add extra salt, pepper, basil or fennel seeds if necessary.


 Shared goodness from Donna

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