Friday, January 27, 2012

Discovering Quinoa

Man, I was a great teacher yesterday! Totally recovered from my crabbiness last Wednesday. It’s always great to feel accomplished at the end of the day. The only bummer was missing my yoga class because of this…

DFJ wanted to eat dinner at 7:00 instead of 8:30. That actually turned out to be a great idea as I
always feel that eating between 8:30 and 9:00 on a weeknight is a little too late. I tend to snack multiple times after dinner and because of that, I think it’s safer to eat earlier in the evening. An hour later, we ran to the gym and then I did another 15 minutues of cardio, lifted some weights, then we walked home. It was brrrrrrrrrrr! I did some yoga stretches in the living room for about 20 minutes and felt good!  

Quinoa is something I have never heard of until a year ago. DFJ made me a quinoa dish once, and then another time (because I liked it so much), that was cooked with brown rice in chicken broth and sautéed onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers, then garnished with toasted pine nuts. The third time I had it was when my friend Emily invited me over for dinner and we had a side dish of red quinoa boiled in salted water. It was made so simply, but it went really well with everything else we had.  

So, here is a quinoa recipe that I adapted from DFJ’s. It is a very healthy dish, full of good vegetables, the real flavors of each you can taste in every bite. You can eat as much as you want to without feeling guilty!

A note on the pine nuts though… I have mixed feelings about these little white crunchies. Sometimes I like them and at other times, not so much. They do add a nice crunch and a nutty flavor to every bite, so if you’re a big fan, go for it. However, if you opt out on the pine nuts, I won’t hold you back.

Vegetables and Quinoa (Makes 4-6 servings)

1 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water

2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, medium
1 inch ginger root, minced
2 portabella mushrooms
2 carrots, medium
1 bell pepper, medium
5 cups spinach, loosely packed
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

½ cups toasted pine nuts (optional)

In a small, non-stick pan, toast pine nuts in medium-low heat until they are slightly brown and fragrant. Transfer to a small plate and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, bring water and chicken broth to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

While the water is boiling and the quinoa is cooking, roughly chop onions, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, and spinach.

In a large pan, heat olive oil. Sauté garlic until it is golden brown, then add the onions and ginger. Cook until the onions are almost translucent. Stir in the mushrooms and add ½ teaspoon of the salt. Sauté until the mushrooms are soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers and sauté for a minute. Stir in the spinach and sauté until it wilts. Season with balsamic vinegar, the rest of the ½ tsp salt, and pepper.

Add the quinoa to the vegetable pan and stir together for about a minute. Turn off the heat and add the pine nuts.

What a great day, indeed!


Let me know what your thoughts are... Your comments always make my day!