Sunday, October 7, 2012

Guest Post by Liz!

The following is a guest post by my friend Liz who lives in Washington, D.C. She has a busy life, working as an environmental specialist and fostering shelter dogs in her spare time. Like many of us, she doesn't always have the time or energy to commit to making gourmet vegan food in the kitchen. Read below for Liz's awesome simple quinoa dinner recipe:

Last night I got home late, hungry, and tired. I didn't want something fancy. I didn't want to fuss with a cookbook. I didnt' want to run to the grocery store. So I thought about what I had on hand and it reminded me of an amazing meal I had at a DC restaurant awhile ago.

That meal was quinoa and roasted veggies in a balsamic reduction. It was decadent and delicious. So this recipe feeds 4 and is very filling - the two tall, meat-eating guys I live with ate every last bite but didn't need seconds.

1 cup quinoa (I used red)
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
Olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic (or as much as you like)
Small amount of minced onion - I used red for a bit of a kick
Dried or fresh basil, or Italian herb blend
Balsamic vinegar

Start the quinoa cooking, then prep your veggies while it's boiling.

1. Cook the quinoa (if you don't know how, this is how I did it: for a cup of quinoa, fill the pot with a cup and a half of water, turn on the heat to about medium, rinse the quinoa, add the quinoa. Once the water gets to a boil, lower the heat so you have a simmer going. Stir the quinoa now and then.  I have no idea how long I cook it for - I just watch for the little white tendrils to appear on the side of each quinoa seed. With red quinoa it's easy to tell because the seeds will "pop" and you can see the translucent insides of them.) Once it's done, turn off the heat, drain any leftover water, fluff it with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl.

2. In a skillet, heat 1 T of olive oil, the garlic, and onions. Once the onions turn translucent, add the zucchini, turning the pieces over to brown both sides, about 10 minutes total.

3. In a small bowl, make a simple balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and whatever herbs you like (I recommend basil, or an Italian blend), plus some salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork and taste test by dipping some bread or a cracker into the dressing.  I don't measure when I make my vinaigrette - I do it on sight and taste. For this recipe, I went heavy on the vinegar.

4. Your quinoa should be done by now - transfer it to a large bowl, and add your vinaigrette to the pot the quinoa was in (this step is optional). On low heat, stir your vinaigrette for a few minutes.

5. Transfer the zucchini to the big bowl with the quinoa. Pour in the balsamic sauce and stir. Set aside.

7. Plate!

The meateaters were as in love with this dish as me. It gets even better the more veggies you use, but we were just working with a limited supply. Beets are fantastic in this as well - you get the whole sweet-savory mix going on. Caramelized onions would work too.

It couldn't be quicker and easier, and it was definitely a crowd pleaser. Only uses 1 pot, 1 skillet and 1 bowl, so it's easy cleanup too!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds AMAZING. I'm going to try it! -Sara :)