Thursday, March 3, 2011

Asparagus & Green Pea Quinoa

March is here, and that means Spring is just around the corner...which also mean I have to stop coming up with excuses as to why I have been devouring so much unhealthy garbage (who orders poutine at 9:30 PM after downing a massive meal at home? This girl! Gross!). I'v been stuffing my face for the past few months, justifying each bite by telling myself that it's to put meat on my bones to stay warm, or to get my curves back...well the curves are back, but they don't exactly want to fit back into my jeans...great. With only a part-time job and a blog that ain't making this gal any dough (I love puns: insert laughter here), I can't afford to buy new pants to fit new curves, so I had to brainstorm to come up with a list of healthy, yet delicious and satisfying dishes that will keep me away from poutine...and chips and dip...and desserts...I could keep going! Immediately I turned to quinoa.

As I mentioned in a previous post on my Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad, quinoa is a super grain that is packed with protein, essential amino-acids, fiber, magnesium, and iron. Don't walk away after reading how healthy quinoa is because it is also delicious! Quinoa has a fantastic nutty flavour and texture that will keep you coming back for more! My Asparagus and Green Pea Quinoa is the perfect dish to get you pumped for Spring. Asparagus and sweet green peas add a crispy texture to each bite, as well as injecting the dish with familiar Spring and Summer flavours. The lemon vinaigrette ties the dish all together with it's zesty and fresh punch of flavour. Because my herb garden still has a ways to go before any basil can get growing, I used dried basil, but fresh basil or even mint would take this dish to new heights! This is also a great dish for Spring entertaining. Perfect for all vegetarians, celiac, and even vegans this dish could make its way onto your party table more than once! Quick and easy to prepare, with the option of preparing in advance, this beautiful dish with its hints of bright green will make a wonderful addition to your next party spread.

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups cold waterJustify Full
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 pound asparagus, chopped
salt and freshly cracked pepper
4 fresh basil leaves (or fresh mint leaves), chopped fine (or 2 tsp dried basil)
1 cup frozen green peas

Lemon Vinaigrette
about 1/2 cup olive oil
zest from 1/2 of a lemon
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly cracked pepper

1. Pour quinoa into a fine sieve resting in a large bowl. Fill bowl with cold water so that it covers the quinoa. Soak for 15 minutes. Using your hands, swish the quinoa around in the water. Strain and pour into a medium-sized pot. Add the water and 1/2 tsp salt.

2. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn heat down to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and, with the lid still on, let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork

3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the vegetables. In a skillet heat the 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and saute at medium-high heat, stirring often, until translucent.

4. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper, and basil (if using dried basil) and saute, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes, or until asparagus is tender but still crisp. Add the green peas 2 minutes into the asparagus cooking. Remove from heat. Add to fluffed quinoa. Pour the lemon vinaigrette on top and stir to combine. If using fresh basil or mint, stir in now. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature as a side dish with your next meal or on its own as a snack!

Lemon Vinaigrette
1. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, zest, and red wine vinegar. While continuing to whisk with one hand, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk until mixture is well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Stir into quinoa mixture.

Listening To:
The Black Keys - Everlasting Light

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Kris said...

Can't wait for the spring veggies to arrive! Take care

Velva said...

Spring will be here soon! With that will come all the fresh spring, then summer vegetables. Those jeans will fit in no time. In the mean time, kick-back and enjoy.


Quinoa Nutrition Facts said...

Asparagus & Green Pea Quinoa definitely sounds yummy! I'm absolutely going to try out this yummy and healthy recipe very soon. I'm sure my family will love it. Thank you very much for sharing! :)

Kathy said...

Wonderful recipe. I am always looking for new variations to make quinoa.