Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Veggie Quinoa

Happy Tuesday!

It was a super busy day!  Complete with dog walks and TJ Maxx outings.  That's my kind of busy day.

Have you heard of quinoa?  It is said KEEN-wah. It's been pretty trendy for a little while now.  It's supposed to be good for you and packed with protein (which is good for a veggie-booty like me...I am always trying to take in as much protein as I can.  This protein usually comes from peanut butter in my case).  Anyway, this stuff has always been intriguing to me.  Whether I hear about it on some trashy E! channel show or read about it on Pinterest (hello?  Tiffany Beveridge?  Have you SEEN her "My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter" board?  I am seriously considering naming my daughter Chevron...)  Tonight I gave it a try.

I walked into this one TOTALLY blind.  I had no idea what kind of flavor this stuff was going to give me. I read a recipe in a recent Rachael Ray mag that gave me some guidance and this is what I came up with:

Preparing the Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup water

First, put the quinoa in a dry fry pan.  Toast it up the way you would pine nuts, just warming them through.  I have read that this is a crucial step in making the stuff taste any good at all.

Once it is toasted, put it in a stock pot with the water and stock and get it boiling, stirring occasionally.  When it hits the boiling point, reduce it to a simmer and cover...letting the lid just a bit ajar to let some steam out.  Leave it alone for about 15 minutes and then uncover.  It does what couscous does and fluffs up nicely with a fork.

At this point the stuff was pretty plain Jane.  The broth did allow it to have some flavor...nutty-esque and wheaty.  The texture is fabulous.  Here's what was happening meanwhile:


1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow summer squash
2 cups arugula
1 glove garlic, minced
1 T oregano
1 tomato
salt & pepper to season

Chop up the zucchini and squash into bite-sized pieces.  They'll go in to a fry pan that has about 1 tablespoon EVOO nice n' hot.  Sprinkle some salt (I used about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (same as the salt) over the veggies. 
Next add in the arugula.  I put in about a half cup at a time.  This stuff wilts beautifully and quickly.  I could have even added more than the 2 cups I used. 
I kept this on a medium/high heat for about 15 minutes.  The leaves had wilted and the vegetables were softened.  That's when I added the garlic and oregano--let that go for another 5-10 minutes.

I chopped up a big tomato and put it in my serving dish, then added the cooked quinoa, and lastly the veggies.

I quickly whipped up a vinaigrette that could not be any easier:  4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of EVOO and drizzled it over the dish.

Here's what turned out:
Dan took a look. I took a look.  He asked why we were having rabbit food for dinner.  I have to admit, I was nervous. I had NO CLUE how this was all going to fit together...

It..was..AWESOME!  We both loved it!  It was so flavorful with the apple cider vinaigrette and the crazy different textures of the quinoa versus the vegetables.

So. All in all, quinoa is delish.  I think this recipe could be swapped around a kajillion different ways.  It was $4.99 for a box and I only used about 1/2 box. Can't wait to try it out a different way!

Stay tuned :-)

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