In my last post I talked about the woes of being in a dinner routine rut and suggested some ways to get yourself the heck out of it. A great way to get out of the dinner routine rut is to pick up an unfamiliar ingredient from the grocery store, as I had done with my Tangy Lemon Halibut, but what do you do if you can't make it to the grocery store? Do not fret my friends, because this actually gives you a wonderful advantage at getting out of that rut! We've all been there, you know, when you come home starving and declare, often with a dramatic groan, "there's nothing to eat!", but really what you mean is "I can't think of anything to eat." It's at that moment that you can either become grumpy, give up and order in, or take the high road and allow your creativity to be ignited!
I needed to serve something alongside my Tangy Lemon Halibut but unfortunately I was faced with a near-empty fridge. Hmmm halibut and pickles? That won't work. Halibut and cheese? Not a chance! Halibut and dip? Ok, time to hit the pantry! I turned to a great pantry standby, the healthy super grain quinoa to beef up the meal. I looked at the few veggies we had on hand, as well as some dried fruits and nuts and began to jot down which flavours go together, always keeping in mind the saying "what grows together goes together". I finally settled on something super simple but still tasty and healthy and worthy of going back for seconds for. My Tomato and Cucumber Quinoa features ingredients that my family and I have grown in our own garden, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and of course my favourite addition, fresh herbs to brighten up all those summer flavours. Stir in a simple dressing and you've got one yummy side that you've whipped up in no time at all!
Tip: Because this recipe is so simple you can easily switch it up to add whichever veggies and herbs you happen to have on hand. Play around with different flavour combinations and ways of preparing the dish. Why not roast your vegetables before adding them into the quinoa for a more complex flavour? Play!
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 small tomato, diced (or about 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes)
1/3 of a cucumber, diced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro or basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
about 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
about 2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small pot stir together the quinoa, water, and salt. Set to high heat and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer at low heat for 10 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.
2. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and allow to cool to reach room temperature. Stir in the tomato, cucumber, cilantro, and chives. Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil a tablespoon at a time and taste after each addition. Add as much as you feel necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve. May be refrigerated and served the next day.
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