My favorite ingredient for a healthy weekday dinner by far is quinoa. Most people think quinoa is a grain but actually it is not a cereal grass at all, but rather a member of the same family that contains spinach, tumbleweeds and beets. Many researchers refer to quinoa as a “pseudo cereal”, meaning non-grass plants that can be ground into flour. Quinoa is a superfood for a good reason, it’s a complete protein, lacks gluten, low on the glycemic index and highly digestible. To top it all off, it’s a nutrition powerhouse with high content of iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, the list goes on… The beauty of quinoa is its adaptability, it can be concocted into a breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert food and goes with virtually anything. It’s a must in any gluten-free diet and a fantastic staple for anyone interested in eating clean.
There are endless ways to eat quinoa:
add to soups to replace rice or noodles (surprisingly great in chicken soup)
cook in almond milk instead of water, then add nuts and berries for a hot breakfast porridge
combine with vegetables, almonds, beans and herbs for a nutrient packed one dish dinner
replace wheat with quinoa spaghetti for a gluten free pasta dish
use ground to bake muffins and cookies
This recipe is adapted from thehealthychef.com, an awesome website with many great recipes, and contains my favorite veggies, mushrooms and arugula. It’s one of those perfect dishes that is extremely versatile, you can make it for a meatless weekday dinner option or take it to a barbecue and it will satisfy even your most veggie averse friend. This makes a big bowl, which means you will have leftovers for lunch or dinner next day. The key to healthy living without great effort is to cook once and eat twice!
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 cups butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 medium red onions cut in wedges
- 2 cups shiitake or baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 cup arugula (1 large handful)
- 2 tbs pesto
- 2 tbs parsley chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400F. Toss butternut squash and onions with 2 tablespoon of olive oil and bake on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes until tender but firm and not falling apart. Cook quinoa according to instructions and cool. In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, add garlic and mushroom and sauté on medium low heat until soft, around 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, butternut squash, mushrooms, pesto, arugula and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.