Monday, July 8, 2013

Roasted Vegetable & Feta Quinoa

There's nothing like an easy weeknight meal that seems to come together all by itself. I always say that my easiest and most inspired meals come from looking in my fridge, pantry, and countertop to see what needs to be used up, and pulling out all the ingredients who's flavours compliment one another. That's the trick. Literally pull out EVERYTHING that could possibly work together, then edit and scale back from there until you have your dish.  I love doing this because it forces me out of the habit of making the same dishes over and over again, as well as giving me the opportunity to hunt through my fridge to catch anything that is about to expire. The more you do this, the more you get a feel for what essentials you should be stocking your fridge with to ease the challenge of coming up new meal ideas, as well as getting familiar with what's inside your fridge so you will waste less and utilize what you already have so you can save time and money! 

This is exactly how I came up with my new favourite quinoa dish! A container of cherry tomatoes, their skins just beginning to wrinkle, had to be the focus of the dish, as they were in the most dire need of being used up. Because they were not at their freshest, I knew I wanted to roast them. Ok, what other vegetables do I have that like to be roasted? Some Ontario asparagus and a red bell pepper rounded out the perfect trio of veggies for my healthy quinoa. In my fridge safari I also came across two packages of feta cheese and two jars of Greek dressing, a no brainer to toss in. With the veggies being roasted, my quinoa was begging for some fresh bursts of flavour. Parsley, chives, and a squeeze of some fresh lemon quickly did the trick. My dish would have been fine and ready to serve right there, but why not kick up the health factor of the dish with one of my secret weapons that I like to keep stocked in my freezer. I like to keep Cookin' Greens Athlete's Mix in my freezer to have on hand to quickly and easily add a hit of dark leafy green goodness into my meals. I love this blend because it not only contains a number of different dark leafy greens, it also features red bell peppers and white beans to add texture and substance. And can you believe that that's it? It felt like quinoa made itself! In only 20 minutes (with much of that time simply waiting for the quinoa and veggies to cook), I had a delicious and healthy side to pair alongside my roasted salmon, not to mention enough to save for lunch the next day. I loved the simplicity and the big flavours in this quinoa. Whether it's served warm right after cooking, or chilled the next day, I promise you will become a fan of this quick and simple quinoa as well! 

*If you do not have or cannot get ahold of Cookin' Greens Athlete's Mix, sub in 1/2 cup your favourite sautéed dark leafy green such as kale or spinach, as well as 1/3 cup white beans.

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water (you may also use vegetable broth)
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 handful asparagus, trimmed 
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Cookin' Greens Athlete's Mix*
about 1/3 cup feta
4-5 tbsp Greek salad dressing
1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season

  1. Stir together quinoa and water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, lay out the grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, and asparagus on a medium baking pan. Toss with olive oil and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake in a 350º oven for about 10-minutes, or until tender.
  3. Chop the asparagus into quarters. Stir the roasted vegetables into the cooked quinoa along with the feta, Greek salad dressing, lemon juice, chives, and parsley.
  4. Place Cookin' Greens Athlete's Mix into a small bowl, and add just enough water to cover. Microwave for 1-minute. Drain and add to quinoa.
  5. Taste quinoa and season accordingly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve warm or cooled.
Listening To:
Frank Ocean - Sweet Life

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1 comment:

Velva said...

This is a great dish for a weeknight meal. I have a habit of staring into my pantry and refrigerator in a daze at times trying to come up with something to prepare on the fly.