Come summer I'm usually a lot lazier in the kitchen, if I'm in the kitchen at all. Summer cooking at our little house consists mostly of long evenings outside, a hot grill, cold drinks, and lounging. And as many of you know, grilling is generally a pretty simple endeavor. Meat and veggies on a stick, rich fishes soaked in simple marinades, bowls of greens and potatoes. So, for those evenings I am actually standing in front of the stove in the kitchen I want it to be just as quick and easy.
In the northwest come summer our farms explode with beautiful local produce, meaning I find myself eating a lot more greens and veggies because they're far better than whats available at the grocery store. My body, and mind wander to dishes that pack a healthier punch. I whole heartedly believe there's something about the warm weather that makes me want to eat greener and healthier, and in turn, something about cold rainy weather that pulls me in the direction of warmer decadent dishes. Now that summer is officially here, our eating has officially shifted. This dish being a decent example of that.
I've had quinoa a few times, but, in truth I've never once cooked it myself, that is until a few nights ago. I looked at a couple of recipes, spoke to a friend of mine who cooks quinoa quite often (I call him a quinoa expert, though he may not necessarily like the title). Then scoured my pantry and fridge, and kind of just pulled this dish together. That's what I love about quinoa, this grain is like a vessel for anything you may want to throw in it. It's the kitchen sink of grains. It's so incredibly good for your body too. It packs a wallop of protein and fiber, plus it's low in calories and fat. It's nutty in flavor, but mild enough that it doesn't overpower your other ingredients. I toasted it in a dry skillet before cooking it down in the vegetable broth, a step I highly recommend, doing so gave it a nutty flavor that can't be touched by other grains like brown rice. Once it was cooked down and fluffy I tossed it with a simple, tangy lemon dressing, flat leaf parsley, and bits of chopped roasted red pepper, topping each plated portion with a simple salt and pepper roasted chicken. The end result was bright and satisfying. If you're going to be in the kitchen at all this summer, I couldn't think of a quicker more fulfilling meal.
Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa
1 1/2 cups quinoa - toasted (dry) in a skillet
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 roasted red peppers (I roasted my own, but you can easily use jarred)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
s&p to taste
Roasted Chicken to 'garnish'
1. In a medium pot bring vegetable broth to a boil. (great time to toast your quinoa)
2. Add toasted quinoa, stir, cover, and allow to cook down for about 17-20 minutes
3. Meanwhile dice your roasted red pepper, and, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and flat leaf parsley in a small glass, whisk lightly, season with salt and pepper.
4. When you're quinoa has finished cooking, remove from heat, then pour dressing over hot quinoa, tossing to coat. Next, add chopped pepper.
5. Plate with a wedge of lemon, and a generous portion of roasted chicken.
6. Now find a sunny spot, and enjoy your simple, healthy dinner!