Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick Dinner with Red Quinoa

I realize that lately every post has been about cookies, candy or cupcakes. I admit, it could be worse! But please don't think that's all I eat! Every once in a while I'll actually cook a healthy meal, too. The people over at Alter-eco fair trade were really generous, and sent me quite a few samples a while back. I've slowly been working my way through them. I'm sort of savoring each item, not wanting to run out!

Last week I finally cracked open the bag of red quinoa. I had tried regular quinoa before, but never the red stuff. First of all, the color is just beautiful! Very festive for this time of year. I wanted to be able to taste the quinoa, not a bunch of other stuff, so I opted for a very simple pilaf.

I sauted one onion, added the dry quinoa and dry cooked it until it smelled toasty. I added the recommended amount of water, and let it cook while I prepared the rest of dinner. Good so far!

I cut up a head of broccoli, spread it on a baking sheet with olive oil, s&p, and popped it into a 400* oven. Pretty darn easy!

Finally, I set up our bamboo steamer with some water and brought it to a boil, creating lots of steam. I made a quick vinaigrette to flavor the tilapia fillets. Here's what went into a small bowl:
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme

If I'd had a fresh lemon I would have cut it into slices and laid them in a layer on the bottom level of the steamer. Sadly, my kitchen was bare of lemons. I set the fillets on the top of the steamer basket, spooned some vinaigrette over each one, put on the lid, and steamed them until the fish was opaque and flaky, about 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness. That was easy too!

Just as the fish was cooking I sprinkled some grated cheese over the broccoli that was still in the oven so it would melt a bit. I also added s&p, plus a tiny bit of minced thyme to the quinoa. That dinner came together in about 45 minutes from start to finish! Maybe less!

I love the contrast of colors, and textures. It all tasted SO good! I spooned a bit more of the vinaigrette over the fish once it was served.

The quinoa kept its beautiful color through the cooking process, and the texture was amazing! It was light but almost crisp at the same time. No unpleasant hardness or weird chewiness, just toasty goodness. Everyone in our house was pleasantly surprised! I'd say the red quinoa is a but nuttier and lighter than regular quinoa. I think I like it better, too! Now I really can't wait to try the black variety!

Hope this gives you some quick and healthy dinner ideas! You're halfway to the weekend, and there are more candy posts to come! Hurray!


  1. Looks delish! I love red quinoa!!!

  2. I've never made quinoa before. You make it look easy and delicious!

  3. Do you have an RSS feed? I'm enjoying reading your posts.

  4. It looks so healthy and delicious. I love this simple recipe :)

  5. A lovely contrast of textures!

  6. I keep hearing about all of the health benefits of quinoa so I will have to give this recipe a try.