I know what some of you are thinking.. Quin-what?!? Quinoa. Pronounced Keen-wah, not Kee-no-ah or Kin-wah, but what you call it really doesn't matter all that much as long as you can cook it well. Though we treat it as a grain, it's actually a seed. Gluten free and Passover friendly according to many. Ashkenazim rejoice!
So, what's the hype, right? Well, it's a nutritional powerhouse. Quinoa is a complete protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids. These can't be made by our bodies and must come from food, which makes quinoa a delicious and healthy one-stop-shop. Vegans rejoice!
Quinoa has a soapy coating and must be rinsed before cooking, unless your package specifies that it is pre-rinsed. If you've made quinoa before and didn't rinse it and it tasted weird, now you know why. It's not the quinoa, it's you. No offense.
I like to make a batch of plain quinoa, simply seasoned with salt and pepper and then use it in different ways by adding different flavor elements. Sometimes I'll reheat leftover grilled chicken strips with quinoa for a quick and easy weeknight meal. Sometimes I'll add a bunch of diced vegetables and herbs and make a quinoa salad. And sometimes I like to top it with roasted vegetables (good save. Almost forgot where I was going with this, need more coffee). The possibilities really are endless.
Roasted vegetables are so so SO good. Like, seriously, my favorite thing to come out of the oven that isn't cake or cookies. Or muffins. Or biscotti. What was I saying? Oh, right! I find myself picking at the vegetables until half of them are gone and then shake up the tray to make it look full again so no one knows. THAT good! When you top the quinoa with the veggies, make sure you add any juices that may have accumulated too. They add great flavor to the simple quinoa base. The photos illustrate 2 different serving options. I prefer the roasted veggies served over a bed of quinoa, while my husband prefers the veggies mixed into the quinoa. So we compromise and do it my way 🙂 happy wife, happy life.
- 2 large red peppers, large diced
- 3 small zuchinnis, large diced
- 1 very large or 2 medium onions, large diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°. Combine diced vegetables in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet large enough to accommodate the vegetables. Roast uncovered until slightly charred at the tips, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa. If the quinoa is not pre-rinsed, place in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well under cold water.
- Transfer quinoa to a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the water, oil, salt and pepper. Mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. *Lower heat will result in mushier quinoa, higher heat will result in quinoa with a bit of a bite to it. I prefer the latter and cook over a medium-high flame the entire time.*
- Remove from flame but do not uncover the skillet. Allow the quinoa to steam in the covered skillet for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with fork. Top quinoa with roasted veggies and serve layered or mixed.