I’ve had several people ask me for a good quinoa recipe lately, and this is the one I always recommend.  The lemon gives it a refreshing, summery taste and the mixture of toasted pine nuts, kale and quinoa give it a surprising heartiness that leaves you feeling full.  It’s great on its own, or alongside a tasty wrap to round out a healthy lunch.  This recipe is a great guide, because you can swap out different ingredients to change up the taste…use almonds or walnuts instead of pine nut, sub feta or cubed mozzarella for the goat cheese or even use a different grain, such as Farro, for the base.   The combinations are endless while staying healthy, delicious and budget-friendly.

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A satisfying choice for Meatless Monday

Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

 Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and sliced into 1” ribbons
  • 1 lemon (Meyer, if you can find them) zested and juiced
  • 2 scallions,chopped
  • 1tbs roasted walnut oil (you can use evoo or sunflower oil, but the walnut oil really has a  great flavor)
  • 3 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Bring the salted water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes, then top with chopped kale and re-cover.  Simmer 5 more minutes then remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and zest through goat cheese in a medium bowl.  Head back to the stove to check on the quinoa.  It should have absorbed all the liquid and you should be able to fluff it with a fork.  Mix the kale in with the quinoa, then pour over lemon/oil mixture.  You can serve immediately or chill overnight and have for lunch the next day. It’s great served warm or cold!

Ancient Farro

May 2, 2011

I discovered farro a couple of months ago at a menu tasting for a work event.  It is said to be the oldest grain in the U.S. and can be cooked “risotto style” but is also delicious in soups and salads.  This easy make-ahead recipe is tasty on its own (I like to take for lunch) or a great fiber-filled side for any meal.  I get rave reviews whenever I prepare it and it’s currently one of my favorite things to throw together on a Sunday for the week.  I’m kinda obsessed with it.  After making it, I think you will be too.

Cook farro with red onion parsley and garlic

Cook farro with red onion, parsley and garlic

Cooling the farro after cooking

Cooling the farro after cooking

Farro Summer Salad

Farro Summer Salad

Farro Summer Salad Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course
2 cups uncooked farro

1 medium red onion, cut in half
1 clove garlic
handful of fresh parsley plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
1 cup finely diced (about 1/4 “cubes) fresh mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons minced pitted kalamata olives
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
FOR THE DRESSING
scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I’ve also used Walnut Oil,it’s  equally as yummy)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)

1.Add the farro, one onion half, garlic, handful of parsley and salt along with 2 3/4 cups water to a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Discard the onion, garlic and large pieces of parsley. Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan and let cool completely (do not skip this step or the mozzarella will melt into the finished dish). Ask a question about this step.
2.Whisk together the olive oil, vinegars and honey to prepare the dressing. Chop the remaining onion half finely. Add onion, cooled farro, mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of parsley and basil to a deep bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir well to combine, using a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve, but can also be made and stored in the fridge, covered, one day ahead.

Fist-Pumping Polenta

February 16, 2011

When I brought a box of polenta home, Jim got so excited he did a fist-pump (which he may, or may not, admit to).  I usually make something fun with polenta and this Sunday night was no different.  I included my two current obsessions: Meyer Lemons (because, who isn’t?) and Serrano Chili Peppers.  The recipe already called for lemon, but I added the serrano to (to quote a wise man), “kick it up a notch.”  That it did.  If you’re not a fan of heat, then you can easily leave it out, but take caution with the Andouille, as it’s often is on the spicy side.  This  delicious one-dish meal is perfect for during the week and pairs nicely with a tossed salad and a crisp white wine (and you can take yummy leftovers for lunch).
Andouille Dijon Polenta (with a kick)
4 servings
  • 1 Cup polenta
  • 3 Cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 Lb Andouille sauage, ground or casings removed
  • 1 White onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 Cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter, broken into quarters (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon tarragon, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan on medium high heat add andouille sausage and cook all the way through – about five minutes.

  1. Once the andouille is browned, add the diced onion and serrano chili and cook in the fat from the sausage for about three to five minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the chicken stock to the pan, and bring to a boil on high heat. Once the stock is boiling, slowly whisk in the polenta.
  3. Reduce the heat of the pan and periodically stir the polenta to prevent clumping for about ten minutes or until the stock seems to have been absorbed by the polenta.  (I use instant polenta so this just takes about a minute.)
  4. Meanwhile, make the Dijon sauce by adding the white wine and heavy whipping cream to a smaller sauté pan on low heat. Whisk for about a minute, then add the Dijon, garlic paste, tarragon, and lemon zest. Continue to whisk for another few minutes so that all the ingredients are properly incorporated.
  5. Stir the dijon sauce and chopped spinach into the polenta, ensuring that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Top with a few pats of butter and season with some hefty pinches of salt and pepper. Serve as a side or make it your main course with a simple salad.
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Sausage, Onion and Serranos sauteeing before adding chicken stock*

 

*Sorry for the not so great pic.  Lost my camera charger in NOLA and using phone for now…

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