Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Vegetable Quinoa

For the longest time I thought I hated asparagus.  It is just one of those unfortunate looking vegetables whose appearance suggests that it should not be eaten.   A few years ago, I bought a bundle during a spring produce sale.  Since I was sick of winter vegetables, I thought I might as well give it a shot.  I roasted it up in the oven with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  It turns out roasted asparagus is actually amazingly delicious.  In this recipe I combine roasted asparagus with quinoa, a protein-rich whole grain, to make a healthy spring entree.  The original recipe for this dish was featured on the Whole Foods Market website, and included shredded chicken.  If you would like a heartier entree, you may want to add the meat back into the recipe.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 cups sliced baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

lemon and Parmesan, for topping


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and drain quinoa.  Combine chicken broth and quinoa in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, rinse and dry asparagus stalks. Snap off woody ends and cut stalks into 1.5 inch pieces.  Lay asparagus pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes; then shake the baking sheet to turn asparagus. Bake for another 5 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon olive oil to hot pan.  Cook onion until golden.  Add garlic and peas, cook for a few minutes longer.  Stir in asparagus and quinoa.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with a few squirts of fresh lemon juice and Parmesan cheese, serve warm.