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Quinoa (pronounced kin-WAH) is one of those grains that is super-trendy right now - high in protein, and being touted as an "ancient" grain, used by the Aztecs! I think it's simply a tasty way to get some high nutritional content into your diet, plus, it cooks up crazy fun because it kind of uncurls as it cooks and produces this little tail. Yes, I just said that it is fun to eat something that morphs a tail as it heats up. But, it's true.
Whenever you use quinoa, you should always begin by rinsing it. In its raw form, it is simply a pearl-shaped grain.
Vegetable Quinoa Bake
1 T canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper (or red), seeded and diced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 c water
1 1/2 c quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 c butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 c carrot, peeled and diced
1 c kale, spinch or escarole, chopped
1 1/2 T parsley, dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
In large saucepan, heat oil. Add onion, mushroom, pepper, jalapeno zucchini and garlic and saute 5-7 minutes. Stir in water, quinoa, squash, carrots, kale and seasonings and bring to a boil.
Transfer mixture to a 9x13" casserole dish and cover. Bake 30-40 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove from oven. Fluff with fork. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Summary thoughts: I found this dish to be overall a bit bland. But, it is good for you. That made it, for me, a bit of a chore to work through. I might spice it up with additional flavors -- maybe some Bragg's over top before serving instead of dousing it with salt, which is what I wound up doing. My office-mates insisted that my leftovers from this dish smelled scrumptious, so I could just be biased, because even if my photo, it looks delicious.