I never thought I would start cooking vegetarian! But its summer, hot, and I need to not be overly conscious about my weight when I squeeze into my bathing suit to go for a swim. Therefore, I have been experimenting in my kitchen with new recipes that are healthy, nutritious, and flavorful.
My travel to Peru four years ago introduced me to all the nutritional benefits of quinoa. High source of protein, this grain brings a deep nutty flavor and balance to ordinary vegetable dishes.
Summer time provides an abundant variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to our garden. My mother on a daily basis fills her basket with fresh kale, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, and herbs. So if you can imagine, I need to be really creative to come up with a variety of dishes daily to use all of our harvest.
This past weekend, I chopped one zucchini, one onion, and one yellow bell pepper; tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme and rosemary to taste; added heirloom tomatoes and roasted them in the oven for twenty minutes at 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, I rinsed under cold water ½ cup of red and white quinoa each (serves four). Placed them in 1 ½ cups of cold water in a medium sized pot and brought it to a boil. I lowered the temperature to low, placed the lid on my pot and cooked them for another ten minutes. Once all the water cooked off, I set it aside to cool.
In a large sauce pan, I sautéed couple of cloves of minced garlic with extra virgin olive oil; once golden, I added kale (stems removed and chopped into bite size pieces) to the garlic and continued to sauté for a couple of minutes until the kale was soft. I added half the quinoa mixture to the pan (the other half I store in the refrigerator to enjoy with any other cold salad for a good source of protein) and tossed all the ingredients together.
I placed a generous portion of the quinoa and kale mix on my plate and topped it with my roasted vegetable. Some freshly chopped basil on top and this dish is not only robust with flavors of roasted vegetables, but also enriched with warm and nutty quinoa.
Delightful to the eyes; sensational to the taste buds; and even more fabulous on the body- inside and out!
Vegetables to roast such as tomatoes, zucchini, onion, bell pepper, or whatever vegetable in season (amounts may vary based on how much vegetables you like to consume)
Salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, basil (preferably fresh; however, dry will do)
Prepare as described above.