Monday, April 8, 2013

Creamy Quinoa Primavera

I had to laugh when Elly posted this on her blog and opened with, "Because I'm a food blogger, it's pertinent that I bring the occasional quinoa dish to your attention." I laughed because it's SO true. Quinoa is still pretty trendy in the food blogging world, and with good reason. It's packed with protein, it's a grain (but not really), it cooks quickly, and you can do to it whatever you want and it still tastes pretty good.

I generally like quinoa, but I feel like I'm either doing something wrong, or just not eating enough (shocking!) because I generally need a pretty large serving before I feel full. (Or maybe my body just doesn't know what to do with itself once I start feeding it properly.) This made quite a bit, so I was able to eat my fill for dinner and bring enough for two lunches.

You can do to this whatever you want, really. I've tossed in a random assortment of frozen peas and corn, half a diced onion, a minced shallot...basically, you can play with this and see what tickles you. I can see myself doing quite a bit with this once our summer garden starts rewarding us for all our hard work.

P.S. It's "KEEN-wah".

Creamy Quinoa Primavera
(As seen on Elly Says Opa, adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 1/2 c. quinoa
1 T. butter
16 oz. mushrooms, diced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 red pepper, diced (or 1/2 a large red pepper)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 c. chicken broth
1/2-3/4 c. frozen peas
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. basil, minced
2 T. grated Romano cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and pepper, to taste

Rinse quinoa thoroughly under cold water. Set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes (approximately), or until juices have just begun to release. Stir in carrots, celery, and red pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the quinoa and stir for another minute. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broth is almost completely absorbed.

Stir in the cream cheese and mix well. Stir in the peas, basil, and Romano. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary, and top with additional Romano cheese if desired.

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