Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa

It is officially the Fall season, which is my favorite time of year.  I love the weather and all the holidays that seem to come faster each year.  Holidays mean getting together with your family and friends and that usually revolves around sharing a yummy meal.  Big family meals usually include a couple of different side dishes.  My Roasted Vegetable Quinoa is a perfect dish to include on your menu if you are hosting, or to bring to an event you are invited to.  It is easy to prepare and perfect to make ahead to eat at room temperature or heat up when you are ready.  It also makes for delicious leftovers.  The roasted vegetables make the dish hearty and healthy.  The quinoa gives it some extra protein that will keep you satiated a bit longer, which is important during this season of indulgence!

Here is what you need:

2 cups of Cooked Quinoa (I love using the Frozen Quinoa from Trader Joes, but use any you have on hand and prepare as stated on the box)
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms (any variety, I used Button Mushrooms)
1 sliced Zucchini
1/2 cup Diced Onion (about 1 small onion) 
4 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 cup Roughly Chopped Spinach Leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)
2 tbsp Olive Oil - Divided
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt -Divided
1  tsp Pepper - Divided
1/8 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
2 tbsp chopped Italian Parsley

This is what to do:

Mix the sliced mushrooms and zucchini with 1 tbsp of oil, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/2  tsp of Pepper.  This will be roasted at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Saute the onions, garlic and chopped spinach with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1/8 tsp of  red pepper flakes for about 5-10 minutes until onions and are translucent and spinach is wilted.

Spray your 9x11 baking dish with cooking spray and add all your veggies and quinoa.  Next mix in your Parmesan and parsley.

You can stop at this point and eat as is or set aside for later.  It is great room temperature or you can bake it all together at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes to get it hot with a nice crisp top.
Serves 4-8

First, let's get our round one veggies ready.
I used mushrooms because they are hearty and meaty and zucchini because it roasts well.  You can certainly use any veggies you have on hand or prefer.

Get the veggies ready to roast.  Add your oil and seasonings and mix well.  Make sure you use a foil lined baking sheet and spray it with cooking oil.  Be very careful not to crowd the veggies, because if they do not have enough room they will steam instead of roast, which makes them soggy.

While these are roasting at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, get your round two vegetables ready to saute. 

You want to saute these in olive oil, starting with onions for about 2 minutes, then garlic for about a minute, then add your spinach and your seasonings.  This is what it should look like when done:

By now, your roasted veggies should be ready.  Once you remove them from the oven, you can place all the veggies in your oiled baking pan.

Now, you add the cooked quinoa (highly recommend the fool-proof frozen kind).  Then the optional Parmesan cheese and the parsley.

Now, you can stop here and eat as is or save it for later to eat at room temperature or bake it at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  It is such a versatile dish that you can prepare and eat any way you like.  If you are unsure of quinoa, give this dish a try.  I have converted many friends from anit- quinoa to quinoa advocates.

I hope you and your friends and family enjoy this colorful and healthy dish that is as delicious as it is gorgeous!  Let me know what you think and if you used different veggies!

**Note**  You can add some chicken or beef to this dish and it would be an amazing casserole!