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For as often as we eat quinoa, I realized it has a relatively small presence on the blog. I’d say at least once a week (if not more) quinoa will show up in some form for lunch or dinner – or breakfast on occasion. So when my aunt emailed me asking for a more ideas on how to use the protein-packed seed, I picked up my camera and snapped a few pics of the lunch I was making right when she wrote.
And no surpise that it was a quinoa salad.
If you aren’t familiar with this ancient ingredient, although it seems like a grain, it is actually a chenopod and is related to beets and spinach. It is also one of the few plant-based foods that is a complete protein, so it a great thing to incorporate into meals that don’t contain meat (which everyone can use a few of, carnivore or not ).
For this version, I roasted beets in my new favorite way. Instead of peeling the beets after they are cooked (and HOT and messy), just quickly run a vegetable peeler around the root before roasting. A quick cut, a small douse of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs (if you have any handy) and pop them into a 400ºF oven and roast for about 30-40 minutes, flipping them once during that time.
Hello – why are all beets not roasted like that??? You know those good crusty nubs that form on the edges of anything you roast? Well, now beets finally have that! Old method of individually wrapping unpeeled beets in foil – g’bye!
After that, I just tossed in a segmented orange (I used a blood orange because it it January and I love them), some pan-roasted tofu (again, new method there – non-stick skillet is MANDATORY, requires almost no oil!!), some lettuce, and a quick bit of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Since the beets and tofu were seasoned during cooking, it didn’t take too much more.
I know this is hardly a recipe, but I love getting new ideas for how to keep simple and inexpensive meals from getting boring, and I think this one fits the bill nicely!
Let me know your favorite things to pair with quinoa!
As we already discussed, there is no real recipe here, so I am not going to write up non-exsitant dressing proportions, but here is how to cook quinoa if you are not familiar with it.
Not too long ago, I made my first twitter inspired meal. I know there are tons of people who post short ‘recipes’ on twitter and so I can imagine that many folks have already had their first “twitter dinner.” But to be honest, I still don’t really “get” twitter and so this is all still new to me – I understand it in theory, but I don’t tweet all that often and use it more to see what is going on with friends and bloggers I like.
So it seemed quite serenditpitous when I was already planning on a big quinoa salad for dinner to see @CannelleVanille tweet “making pumpkin seed, watercress and lemon pesto for quinoa tonight. Sans cheese this time.”
I remembered I had some pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) in the pantry from a random bulk bin binge. This would be great – something not totally expcted, but still simple, easy and healthy (which is I was obviously looking for with quinoa salad dinner plans).
Turns out I didn’t have watercress on hand, so I went with a parsley pesto – I know not totally similar and might not be everyone’s fave, but I love parsley and will take excuse to move it from the garnish column to ingredient (plus it was the only “leafy green” in the fridge). And unlike Aran, I did add in the cheese, because I wanted that extra richness, and who are we kidding … I rarely pass on the cheese.
To make it a meal, Read the rest of this entry »
I like to make a big grain salad to have on hand for lunch during the week. They pack well, keep well and well, make me feel better than most other things I would come up with for lunch.
Quinoa is a fave of mine, and I often change up the veggies, but keep the dressing the same – some version of a vinaigrette to flavor it all. So when Heidi reposted this double broccoli quinoa on 101 cookbooks this week, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Especially when it packs a little punch with chile oil. The heat is important against all the other good-for-you stuff.
I am a big fan of pestos, especially non-basil ones, and so the thought of a broccoli pesto was right up my alley.
I changed it slightly from Heidi’s and a traditional one, as I omitted the parmesan. Shocking that I left out the cheese, but I figured it wouldn’t really be missed – and I was right. Plus, then I could amp up with more feta at the end.
I had every intention to make these. Don’t they look amazing? I even bought the eggplants. Granted, I was going to change the recipe a bit (not because one should do that with anything Smitten Kitchen, but because I like to do dinner a few nights a week meat free, and thought this could be a good one). Switch out the meat for quinoa and mushrooms. But then a few days passed and the mushrooms went into an impromptu chicken dinner and the eggplants needed to be cooked.
Thank goodness for the internet! Seriously – how many cookbook indexes did one have to claw through before when looking for inspiration for a particular ingredient? No thank you!