I’ve been meaning to cook with quinoa for quite some time. I bought a small amount of it in the bulk bin at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and hadn’t gotten around to trying it out. With my recent focus on eating healthier, I figured it would make for a nice light supper along with some roasted veggies.
It’s as though quinoa is becoming more popular as I’m seeing it popping up on more blogs. I didn’t know much about it other than many vegetarians and gluten-free folks use it as an alternative grain. Until I researched it, I did not know that quinoa is considered to be a well-rounded food. In addition to containing a balanced set of amino acids, it is also high in protein, fiber, magnesium, and iron.
We go through a large amount of white rice in our house. We buy it in 10lb bags and eat it for nearly every dinner. My doctor mentioned that such starchy foods, especially in quantity, can negatively effect blood sugar and cholesterol. I’ve decided to remove white rice from my diet entirely. Quinoa is a perfect substitution for either white rice or couscous and is much healthier for you.
I didn’t use a particular recipe for this dish, but instead went with what I had in the house. Feel free to use different vegetables or to change up the dressing ingredients.
Citrus Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed & cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 c. red onion, coarsely sliced
1 small bulb fennel, cored and sliced crosswise
1 clove garlic, minced
cooking spray (or olive oil)
3/4 c. quinoa
1 1/2 c. water
1 orange, zested and juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and add aspragus, fennel, red onion, and garlic. Spray vegetables with cooking spray and bake for 12-18 minutes until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown/caramelize.
While vegetables are roasting, rinse the quinoa in water for 1-2 minutes. The outer layer of the quinoa can be bitter and thoroughly rinsing will remove this bitterness.
Place quinoa and water into a pan on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 15 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Turn off burner and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
To prepare the citrus dressing, combine the orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, and olive oil. Whisk to combine.
Add the dressing to the quinoa then toss in the roasted vegetables, sprinkle with a few chopped fennel fronds before serving. Although I ate this immediately, allowing it to sit for a few hours or overnight will greatly enhance the flavors.
The quinoa reminded me of caviar. As it cooks, the grain becomes almost transparent like little fish eggs. Thank god it doesn’t taste like fish eggs (I’m not a fan)!
The citrus dressing went well with the roasted vegetables I used. I liked the savory-sweet flavors in this dish, especially the fennel and orange combination. The clove of garlic was a bit overpowering for the quantity of quinoa, so I would likely reduce this by half or remove altogether.
Unfortunately, Joe was traveling for work and missed out on this creation. I think he would have enjoyed it, although he would have questioned why there wasn’t any meat. The fennel and citrus would go well with a nice piece of grilled salmon. I’ll have to try this next time!