Simple Side Dish.
While I often have to break the news to new clients that there are no quick fixes to losing weight and repairing ill health, I also get to break the news that there can be quick fixes to eating more healthy food. It’s called cook once, eat twice. It’s a brilliant concept……and the way I approach it, it’s not so much left overs as it is creating something new from what’s already started.
I love this recipe for veggies + quinoa because once it’s made, there are endless possibilities of other things that can be generated from this one simple dish. Options for breakfast, lunch and dinner with minimum thought and minimum fuss.
In this recipe, I used the veggies I had on hand along with some already cooked quinoa and voila, an easy and healthy side dish in minutes. I will often cook up a batch of quinoa, lentils, and/or millet on Sunday so I have something to work with when I’m in a crunch for time. We enjoyed the veggie quinoa piping hot, straight from the pan. It can be made in advance and kept warm in a low oven, or served at room temp.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can substitute any veggies or grains for the ones listed here. Whatever your taste dictates, or whatever is in the crisper drawer in your fridge is often more like it!
As good as this dish is, the magic really happened the next day. I took the left over veggie quinoa and added some fresh herbs, cooked beans and a healthy squirt of citrus to turn that same dish into a salad for lunch. Other times, I use the left over veggie quinoa and heat it in a dry skillet until the quinoa gets a bit toasty and then swirl some toasted sesame oil and a scramble in a couple of eggs for a breakfast hash that is loaded with nutrients and flavor. I’ve also added leftover veggie quinoa to a simple vegetable broth…..what a delicious soup……made in minutes! What other ideas can you dream up to use this simple and nutritious side dish?
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons veggie stock
- 1 Tablespoon tamari
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mirin (rice wine)
- 1 medium sized onion, diced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chopped veggies*
* what I used:
- 1 cup broccoli, trimmed into florets
- 1 red pepper, rough chop
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts cut into thirds
- 1 bunch asparagus cut into 1” pieces
- Make the quinoa. Rinse and drain 1 cup quinoa, then add to small sauce pan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. This will make about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and swirl in olive and sesame oil.
- Add onion and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally. When onion begins to soften (about 3-5 minutes), add in the ginger. Stir for one minute and then add garlic and salt. Stir constantly once the garlic is added.
- Start adding vegetables one at a time, beginning with the carrots and broccoli, ending with whatever you have that’s the most fragile and will take the least amount of time to cook. Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), take the longest to cook. Bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus take the least amount of time to cook. Use tongs to continue tossing the vegetables as you cook and add more into the mixture. The entire process will take about 5 minutes. You want the vegetables to still have some bite.
- As you continue to cook the vegetables, use the stock one tablespoon at a time if the pan becomes too dry. If you don’t have any stock, you can use some white wine, or even water is a better choice than adding more oil.
- Stir in the quinoa and toss less frequently so the quinoa gets a bit crunchy.
- Next stir in the tamari, vinegar and mirin and mix well.
- Taste for seasoning, adding more tamari as needed.
To make this into a salad, choose your favorites in each category. Add any or all and let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temp.
Squeeze 1-2 lemons (or oranges) over the veggie quinoa. Citrus will bring out the flavors.
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (cilantro or parsley taste best)
1 cup cooked beans (garbanzo, kidney, black, cannellini)
½ cup roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 6gCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 9g