Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa

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This recipe has a few things going for it.  First, it’s relatively easy to prepare.  It doesn’t require a lot of stirring, measuring or tasting — just some chopping and flipping. (Not you — the vegetables.  No acrobatic skills are required for this recipe).  Second, it makes great leftovers. You can cook up a batch of this on a Sunday and then just reheat it for lunch or dinner the rest of the week.  And finally, this is one of those recipes where you can eat potatoes slathered in olive oil and feel good about it, because the rest of the recipe is so healthy! It doesn’t get much better than that.

A few notes about the quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), which may look like cous cous, but it’s not. It’s not even a grain, actually — it’s a seed from the goosefoot plant, and it’s in the same family as spinach, chard, and beets.  (Fun, huh?)  It’s gluten-free, it’s a great source of protein, it’s nutrient rich, and it’s delicious if you prepare it right.  The secret is that you have to toast it for a couples minutes before you cook it.  To do that, just place the quinoa in a pan over medium-high heat and gently stir/shake the pan until the quinoa starts to “pop,” looks golden brown, and smells sort of nutty.  Then remove it from the heat immediately and prepare as listed below.  Easy peasy.

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ROASTED VEGETABLES AND QUINOA

– 1 cup quinoa, rinsed

– 2 cups water, vegetable broth or chicken broth

– couple pinches of salt

– olive oil

– Vegetables  — whichever ones you like best — chopped into large pieces of roughly the same size (this helps to ensure even cooking).  Because we usually make this in the fall and winter, we tend to use fall and winter types of vegetables.  Root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, etc. The recipe pictured above was made with cauliflower, potatoes, turnips, beets, and sweet potatoes, but we have used broccoli, brussels sprouts, red peppers, string beans, and large chunks of onion in the past.  They’re all good.

– Spices.  Again, use whatever spices you like best and think will go best with your recipe.  In the past, we have used just rosemary, or just thyme.  The recipe pictured above used a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of salt, and a couple grinds of pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees  Chop whatever vegetables you are using, place them in a large bowl, and coat them well with olive oil and spices.  Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet (or two or three, depending on how many vegetables you have), making sure that they have enough space so that they’re all touching the surface of the baking sheet.  Bake at 450 for 45 – 60 minutes, turning them after about 20 minutes and then every 10 minutes or so until they are done.

While vegetables are roasting, bring 2 cups of water (or vegetable broth or chicken broth) and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Once the water is boiling, add the cup of quinoa, turn heat down to low, and cover.  Cook until all of the water is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and top with roasted vegetables.  And some more olive oil.  Enjoy!

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