Quinoa is one of those side-dishes that I passed over for far too long. I never really liked small-grain cous-cous and I think that because the quinoa grains were so small, I assumed I wouldn't like them either. But I knew it is so very good for you, so I decided to give it a try and was so glad I did. This dish, so far, is my absolute favorite. Much like the Lemon Bulgur, it's a dish I am perfectly happy to eat alone. Since quinoa has such a high protein content, it really does not need to be served with any meats. However, I'm never certain how my husband will respond if I don't make some kind of meat. So the last few times I've made this, I've grilled a small amount of chicken to go with it.
The health benefits of quinoa are numerous, but it's preparation can be so varied you won't get bored of it. It can be prepared similar to oatmeal or risotto, for sweet or savory dishes.
But like I said, this is my favorite. I love mushrooms, asparagus and goat cheese so this recipe jumped out at me. I've made it a few times and even my daughter gobbles it up! There's not usually a lot left over, but I always look forward to having the last bit of it the next day for lunch.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quinoa
adapted from The Healthy Foodie
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well*
1.25 cups water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I use white mushrooms or baby bellas)
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed, and cut into 1" pieces
2 geren onions, sliced
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
Add rinsed quinoa and liquid of choice to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest. Fluff with a fork.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Cook the mushrooms until they are golden brown on both sides. Add the asparagus and cook for 2-4 more minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus and how tender you prefer it.
Toss the quinoa, mushrooms and asparagus together in a bowl, add salt and pepper. Last, gently toss in the crumbled goat cheese.
*You can opt to first give your quinoa a 5 minute soak in warm water. Although most pre-packaged quinoa comes pre-rinsed, a quick rinse at home will just ensure any bitter saponin is gone.