I think last night was one of the best creative nights in the kitchen that I have had in a very long while. I turned out a fabulous vegetarian dish packed full of vitamins and protein that can be used as a stand alone meal or be a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or salmon. Sometimes I amaze myself with my ingenuity. Believe me though, I have had major flops too, so I take this win as a small victory.
Looking in the fridge I knew I had a container of leftover roasted squash, not enough for soup, but enough to be added to….something. So the chef hat went on as I gathered ingredients out of the fridge. Mushrooms…yup, have to use those. Kale, absolutely (I was bitten by the kale bug last week again, I always forget how much I like it). Then what to add as “filler” I pondered. As I was staring into the pantry, there sat a jar of black quinoa – perfect! A few other odds and sods pulled out of the pantry and fridge and a game plan was forming.
As I prepped the kale and chopped some onions, I wondered if quinoa could be cooked like a risotto? Short answer, no, but dinner did take a long time to cook as I discovered that fact (I will explain later), but since I was starving, it was time to get cooking!
1/2 dry black quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked squash (roasted and mashed)
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp good red wine (don’t buy “cooking wine”, use the good stuff!)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a saucepan over med-high heat; add onions and cook until just starting to turn transluscent (about 3 minutes), add mushrooms, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender (3-5 minutes).
Add quinoa and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil. Lower heat to med-low, cover and simmer until quinoa is cooked (about 15 – 20 minutes), remove lid and raise heat back to a boil. Boil off any remaining liquid.
Turn heat to low again and add the squash, mix until combined. Taste seasonings at this point and adjust to your liking. Add kale, stirring to mix in, then cover and let the kale steam for 2-3 minutes until bright green.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings as a meal alone or 4 servings as a side dish.
What I found with trying to cook quinoa as a risotto (seriously, don’t waste your time trying) is that the quinoa needs to sit in the liquid and cook at a lower heat or it won’t plump up. After 30 minutes of adding liquid and stirring it was still rock hard. Once I added more broth, lowered the heat and covered the pot, the quinoa cooked. Lesson learned!
Meanwhile, I am having the remainder of this dish for lunch today, simply outstanding!
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 45.0
% Daily Value *
- Total Fat 5g
- Saturated Fat 0.49g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 99.65mg
- Total Carbohydrate 26.38g
- Dietary Fiber 8.46g
- Sugars 3.39g
- Protein 5.31g
Est. Percent of Calories from:
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories need.