QUINOA ASPARAGUS PILAF
With shaved parmesan, parsley and a lemon vinaigrette
The Nutrition Behind the Dish
Quinoa: carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, folate, manganese & magnesium
Asparagus: fiber, vitamins K, A, C, E, folate & iron (has a diuretic and cleansing effect on body)
Parmesan cheese: protein, fat, calcium, selenium
Lemon Juice: fructose, vitamin C, folate & potassium
Olive Oil: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat (in that order), vitamins E & K
Parsley: vitamins K, C & A, calcium, iron & potassium
Black Pepper: fiber, manganese, iron, vitamin K
- 2 cups dry/uncooked quinoa
- 16 cups water (for cooking quinoa)
- 2 bunches (~1.5 lbs) fresh California asparagus
- 2 oz. Parmesan Reggiano, shaved into thin strips
- 2 trays of ice cubes
- 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, (~1 lemon)
- ½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Bring water to boil, add quinoa and boil uncovered on medium-high heat until there is no white "dot" of starch evident in the center; ~11-14 minutes. Test a few grains; it will have a slight crunch. Drain in fine mesh colander for 5 minutes. Transfer quinoa to baking sheets; cool to room temperature.
- While quinoa is cooking, zest half of lemon into medium bowl, then juice the lemon into same bowl – about 2 Tbsp, then add olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork until emulsified. Set aside.
- Bring a second large stock pot of water to boil. Prepare asparagus by snapping the woody ends off of the stalks; 2-3 inches from the bottom of stalk; discard ends. Cut the asparagus stalks into 1 inch pieces.
- Set a large bowl of water aside, add ice cubes.
- Add asparagus to boiling water, boil for one minute (blanching), then drain in colander and run under cold water. Immerse asparagus in bowl of ice water for 5 minutes, then drain. This will stop the cooking process and ensure the asparagus is crisp and tender.
- Finely chop parsley and shave (use a vegetable peeler) parmesan cheese into ½ inch pieces.
- Combine cooled quinoa into large bowl, toss with vinaigrette and parsley, then toss in asparagus and garnish with shaved parmesan cheese. Taste to balance flavors; add salt or pepper if needed.
Quinoa, a whole grain, can be found at most major supermarkets.
Nutrients/serving (~1.5 cups): 280 calories, 13 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 11 grams protein, Vit. A: 23%, Vit. C: 23%, Calcium: 13%, Iron: 17%
WARM QUINOA PILAF
With seasonal vegetables, sautéed tofu and toasted nuts
The Nutrition Behind the Dish
Quinoa: carbohydrates, protein, fiber, folate, manganese & magnesium
Tofu: protein, fat, fiber, calcium, iron, manganese
Broccoli: fiber, vitamins C, K, A, folate & calcium
Carrot: fiber, vitamin A (beta-carotenes) and B6
Leek/Onion: vitamins K, A, C & fiber
Garlic: vitamins C, B6, manganese & calcium
Basil: vitamins K, A & C
Pine nuts: fat, fiber, protein, manganese and copper
- 1 cup dry/uncooked quinoa
- 1¾ cup vegetable stock or water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (or less if limiting calories)
- 1 leek or small onion (red/yellow), diced
- 1 medium carrot, scrubbed and diced (don't peel)
- 2-3 cups seasonal vegetables, chopped into bite size pieces: e.g. broccoli, asparagus, summer squash, etc.)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 8 oz. high-protein firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes (or another protein: chicken, shrimp or whole beans)
- 1/3 cup freshly chopped herbs: such as basil, parsley, cilantro or whatever you have on hand
- ¼ cup toasted nuts or seeds (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add ~1 Tbsp olive oil, cubed tofu and season with salt and black pepper. Brown tofu, turning every few minutes until crunchy, then turn off heat and cover.
- While tofu is cooking, heat a separate deep skillet or medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, diced leek or onion, garlic and carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat
- Then add 1 cup dry quinoa, stir into vegetables and let toast for 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ cup stock or water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- While quinoa is cooking, chop seasonal vegetables into bite-size pieces. Place in steamer basket – either over cooking quinoa (at start of cooking) or in a separate pot with about 3-4 minutes left on cooking time for quinoa. That way everything will be warm and ready at the same time.
- Fluff quinoa with a large fork, serve out ~1 cup quinoa onto plate, top with steamed vegetables, browned tofu and optional garnishes. My favorite is toasted pine nuts and fresh basil or parsley.