Apologies for being absent all week but it was simply too hot to blog. Am I right?? How can I think about fall wardrobes and new seasonal recipes when the only thing on my mind is watermelon popsicles and the possible threat of a broken air-conditioning system? No but seriously, the temperature soared to about 115 degrees on Monday and leveled off to about 95 degrees the rest of the week.
Enough excuses though, it’s time to discuss quinoa (keen-wah). Quinoa is one of those foods that I’ve eaten in restaurants, like Veggie Grill and La Pain Quotidien, but never attempted to make at home. Yesterday, I decided it was about time to test it out, so I bought a box of red quinoa at Trader Joe’s without a recipe or any sort of plan (story of my life).
I prepared it on the stove in the same way you make rice or couscous. 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water. Though it was shockingly easy to make, I didn’t know what to do with it when all was said and done. I decided to search my favorite food blogs for quinoa recipes and found a simple, yet delicious-looking one on Lovely Morning. She has great recipes, by the way.
I adapted her recipe and added some flair of my own. Here is what I mixed in:
- roasted carrots and shallots: I diced the carrots and shallots; mixed them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper; spread them evenly on a baking sheet; and roasted them in a 375 degree oven until they were slightly browned on the edges and cooked all the way through.
- half bag of frozen peas
- 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- fresh basil
- lemon vinaigrette: This is a super easy, no-fuss vinaigrette that I often pair with simple salads or use as a marinade for chicken and fish. Squeeze the juice of 1-2 lemons into a bowl, whisk in equal parts (maybe a slightly larger amount) of extra-virgin olive oil, and toss in salt and pepper to taste.
As soon as you pair the quinoa with any sort of flavor component (in this case, the lemon vinaigrette and yummy goodness from the roasted veggies), it completely absorbs and takes on that flavor. The salad as a whole was so clean and simple, yet full of flavor and substance. And because of the high levels of protein in both the quinoa itself (super healthy, by the way) and the garbanzo beans, it felt like a full and complete meal on it’s own.
I will definitely experiment with quinoa again, infusing it with as many different flavor combos as possible. Maybe an avocado-lime theme next?