The Joy of Cooking Quinoa

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I am pretty new to quinoa given how long it has been around.  To me, it is the perfect grain.  When I first started cooking it, I would eat it plain.  Boring!  Now I use it in place of my oatmeal for breakfast, as a side dish for dinner, or eat it cold with some crunchy veggies and balsamic vinegar and EVOO.  There is so much you can do with quinoa! 

It is my goal to make two new recipes each week.  Last night, I decided to make a recipe I found last week (my list is getting very long) on Two Peas and Their Pod because I bought a 2 pound bag of sweet potatoes at Trader Joe’s.  I made their Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Dried Cranberries, & Red Onion. 

ingredients

While the quinoa was cooking, I roasted the sweet potatoes and red onions for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  15 minutes later, I added the kale (not shown) which I dressed with some balsamic vinegar.  Kale can be tricky in the oven.  Watch it carefully because it can burn. 

oven

I let everything cool including the quinoa, and then I mixed all of the ingredients together.  The dish was beautiful and smelled so yummy.  It was all I could do not to dive right in! 

quinoa

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Dried Cranberries, & Red Onion

(from Two Peas and Their Pod)

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups kale
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1 cup uncooked black quinoa (I used regular quinoa)
2 cups water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes and red onion slices in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and then put them on a large baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir a few times while baking.

2. Drizzle kale with 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. When the sweet potatoes and onions have been in the oven for 15 minutes, put the kale in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until kale is wilted and starting to get a little crispy.

3. While the vegetables are roasting, make the quinoa. Using a strainer, rinse the black quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool quinoa cool to room temperature.

4. When the vegetables are done roasting, let them cool to room temperature. Chop up the red onion slices and kale. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, sweet potatoes, red onion, and kale. Drizzle the salad with remaining three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and add in the dried cranberries. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

5. Enjoy!

Tyler and I enjoyed our quinoa salad with some steamed asparagus and cod that I lightly coated with breadcrumbs.  I cooked them on the stove for a total of 6 minutes (3 minutes a side).

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I am looking forward to having leftovers for lunch!  I will probably pair it with some steamed vegetables.  Fresh veggies always show up on my plate at lunch and dinner.

What is your favorite quinoa recipe?

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