Need a fast and super-healthy dish for dinner tonight? This is it! Quinoa is an ancient grain with a lovely texture, and it is a complete protein, making it perfect for a meatless meal. (It is necessary to rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer to remove a coating on the grain that can be bitter, but it only takes a second.) It efficiently absorbs the flavor from the vegetables, so every bite bursts with flavor. Since I am not vegetarian, I used chicken stock for flavor, but you may certainly use water or vegetable broth. A sprinkle of Parmesan over the top adds nutty saltiness. Serve it with a crunchy side salad and fruit for dessert for a tasty, hurry-up dinner!
2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh strain to remove any bitter coating
3 Tablespoons coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or other high-heat appropriate oil
3/4 cup finely-diced onion
3/4 cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced white mushrooms
3/4 cup diced carrots (I used purple & yellow, but any kind works)
1/2 cup diced celery, (inner parts with leaves are best)
3 cloves garlic, finely-minced
3/4 cup small-diced zucchini
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Prep all of the vegetables and aromatics.
Bring the stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed.
While the quinoa cooks, heat a large saute pan and add the oil. Heat just until it starts to smoke. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, red peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and celery and saute until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Cook until the zucchini is softened and the tomatoes begin to break down.
Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables along with the parsley and stir until well combined and hot. Season with salt to taste, divide into serving bowls, sprinkle with cheese (if using) and serve.