Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Quinoa Side Dish

Quinoa... Do you know how long it took me to understand how to even pronounce this word? I kept looking at my mother completely confused every time I talked about it. Kwoon-wa. Koon-woo.  Kown-wah. Kwin-oo. WHAT. 

Keen-wah. That's it. It's engraved in my brain now. 

So what is quinoa? It's grain-like, but not actually a grain. The quinoa you eat are the seeds of some sort of grass-like plant. Look it up if you want to know more. 

Of course this is another Pinterest find. Pinterest is amazing. I was on a hunt for a good side dish to go with the paninis, something nice and light.  And this dish delivered (and the blog it's from is super cute). The beauty of it is that you can add anything you like. Anything that's in season and on sale. And there isn't much measuring. Add as much of a veggie as you like! 

Everything you'll need: chicken stock (or veggie), quinoa, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, feta cheese, salt/pepper, assorted veggies - zucchini, tomatoes (red/yellow), green onion, avocado, and basil. 

And for the dressing you'll need: honey, lemon juice, lemon zest (I didn't have any), garlic, 

Okay, so get the chicken broth boiling in a sauce pan.

The recipe says to rinse the quinoa... I don't know why you have to, but just do it. And add it to the boiling chicken broth.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, put a lid on the pan, and let it cook for about 25 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, start a saute pan (or in my case, a wok because we have no nice nonstick saute pans), add a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and add some garlic to that. Only let this go for a minute a so because the garlic will burn. 

These are the veggies I had prepared to add to the garlic in the wok.  Corn zucchini, and green onion.  Throw those into the wok and saute for a couple minutes. 

This is the cooked quinoa. I burned it a little on the bottom, but that's okay. Fluff it up a little. 

Add the quinoa to the cooked veggies along with half the dressing.  

To make the dressing, just add lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and whisk. 

Allow the above mixture the warm, and fuse together for a minute or so.

Take the pan off the stove, add remaining dressing, tomatoes, basil, and feta cheese.  

I added avocado to my plate once we sat to eat Sky's birthday dinner. IT WAS AWESOME. 

This is delicious warm, it is delicious as cold leftovers. Try it soon!! 

  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed & drained
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 can sweet corn (or 2 ears of fresh)
  • 2 green onions
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped - I got red & yellow tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup feta 
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped basil
For the honey lemon vinaigrette: 
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan.  Add rinsed quinoa and place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, then cook until the broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes.  Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the honey lemon vinaigrette in a bowl, whisk to combine, set aside. 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Add zucchini, sweet corn, and green onions, season with salt and pepper, then saute until barely tender, about 4 minutes.  Add cooked quinoa and half the honey lemon vinaigrette, then stir and cook for 1 more minute. 

Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil to the skillet.  Stir well, taste, and add more salt & pepper if necessary.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving. 


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