Sunday, August 7, 2011

Garlicky Quinoa

There are a lot of days where I come home from work and have less than an hour to get ready to leave again. This puts a lot of pressure on having a decent dinner. Yes, I could go get take-out, but I much prefer to have something cooked at home. When I don't have leftovers waiting, it gets a little tricky finding something that I can whip up in under 30 minutes.

My normal favourites are pasta or quinoa because they cook fast and are filling. Quinoa is my favourite though. It is a great healthy alternative for a quick plate. I can't remember if I have written much about my love affair with this South American super grain(I probably had, but I don't care, it should be given its moment again).

It was something I had never heard of until I had switched to a vegan diet. I am not sure why it hasn't caught on as much for the meat and potatoes crowd, but I am telling you... it needs to!

So, what is quinoa? It is a seed, but cooks like a grain. It is related to spinach and chard and people have been eating it for thousands of years. It is a complete protein with a balanced set of amino acids. It is a great source of fibre, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free. It's no wonder Quinoa's nickname is the gold of the Inca's.

I usually cook up some quinoa and add some lemon juice, basic, vegetables. I have used it in stir fry's, veggie burgers, salads.. you name it and I bet I could find a way to incorporate some quinoa into the mix.

This time, I wanted to change it up a little bit and made a garlicky quinoa with roasted asparagus.

Garlicky Quinoa
  • 3/4 cup quinoa (red, white, black or mixed)
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Asparagus, and any other vegetables you want (Zucchini, tomato, peppers, carrot, kale, artichoke etc)
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper for roasting
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Time out how long it will take for roasting the vegetables (asparagus take just 8 minutes, so I use them when in a hurry). While you are waiting on the oven to heat up add the broth, quinoa and bay leaf in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Once in a full boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes (just like white rice).

Cut the ends off the asparagus and add to a shallow dish with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss and put them on a cookie sheet or on tin foil and roast for about 8 minutes (give them a shake about 4 mins in). While everything is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan, once it is hot add the onion and cook for about 5 min or until they are soft. next add the garlic cook for a few minutes and try to not burn it. If you time this out, the quinoa and the veg should be ready.

Add the cooked quinoa to the frying pan and stir well. Chop the asparagus into bite size pieces and add it in. Next add the basil, cilantro, lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Stir well again and serve!

Some great additions to this would be some fried tofu or tempeh if you want a bit heavier of a meal. The nice thing about quinoa is that it is a grain and a protein source, so you don't really have to do much to it for a fast meal.



  1. I like quinoa, but it was much too expensive for me in college. It's much cheaper where I live now, though :)

    Isn't quinoa awesome?! I love to use it in dishes in which I'd usually use rice.

    I love your blog! Found you on Twitter through @STFUParents (again, awesome).

  2. Quinoa is my favourite grain at the moment. It is a bit expensive, but totally worth it. I find mine at Costco sometimes.

    I hope to make some qunioa recipes soon (quinoa cereal bars is top of the list!)

    Thanks for reading!

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