I don't how it took me so long, but I just discovered Quinoa, and it is awesome. If you aren't already acquainted, please allow me introduce you to this beautiful little seed which dates back to Pre-Colombian Andean civilization. Now, I am not an expert in nutrition (want one? Check out the Whole Food Whole Family blog), but this little seed is a super source of complete protein, high in fiber, high in iron - all things we humans really need.
Not only is Quinoa super good for you, it tastes amazing. I love the texture. You can use it as a replacement for rice, couscous and other grains (it is Gluten Free) and its super fast and easy to make.
This dish isn't just healthy because of the Quinoa either. I had all these beautiful violet and yellow carrots I got at the market (which for some crazy but awesome reason were only 1 euro for about 2 kilos worth), some left over zucchini, and tomatoes sitting in my fridge. Combining them all in this salad makes it a powerhouse of vitamins and other nutrients.
Did you know that the cultivated carrots original color is Purple? They date back to the 900s in Afghanistan. Wild carrots are even more ancient - with seeds up to 10 thousand years old having been found. I love ancient food! This dish brings together all these super healthy and ancient foods in a beautiful colorful dish. It would make a great side dish, but we ate it as our whole meal and it was delicious and filling - and did I mention colorful? Everything turns a pinkish-purple color, combined with the greens and reds from all the veggies. I loved it!
Colorful Quinoa Salad
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
2-4 tbs lemon juice
1-2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 carrots (2 purple, 2 yellow or any mix of colors you can get your hands on), sliced into rounds
1 or 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup chopped zuchhini (like half a normal sized zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/4 of a large onion)
2 tbs tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
salt & pepper
First, drain the water out of your zucchini. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes or so, then pour off the excess water and pat dry.
In a medium saucepan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic, lemon zest and a pinch or two of salt. Saute garlic until fragrant and soft, but not yet browning. Just about one minute. Add 1 tbs of basil and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Add in the vegetable broth and water and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, add the Quinoa and 1 tbs lemon juice and give it a stir. Bring liquid back to a simmer, then reduce heat, cover and allow to cook until Quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat around 2 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and give it a stir. Cover and let cook for around 3 or 4 minutes. Uncover and stir. Add zuchinni and tomato and garlic. Let saute for another 10 minutes or so, until veggies have all gotten nice and soft and maybe just browning. Raise heat slightly and add herbs and let saute another minute or two, until it starts to brown. Add the white wine and cook until it reduces down. Add tomato paste and stir to combine it all together. Stir in Quinoa.
Remove from heat and enjoy :)
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