I have been determined to eat more vegetables and fruits because the holidays are coming around the corner. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and I absolutely love the holiday season. However, trying to avoid the wonderful food is slightly impossible but you have to make small sacrifices now to enjoy all the wonderful treats later. (That's what I keep trying to tell myself!) To help stay focused and on track, Eric and I try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet but there's always room to indulge on the occasional meal. (I love food trucks!) I try and incorporate new foods, vegetables, fruits into our meal planning. Eating the same food or meals seems a little boring and repetitive right?
Thus, the new ingredient of the week...quinoa. I have been intrigued by the nutritional factor by quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). It's been in my runner magazine as the "it" food to incorporate into your daily lifestyle. It looks like couscous, and barley, and it is pretty fun to say. Quinoa cooked very similar to rice and was easy to prepare. This dish was quite a surprise for Eric and I because all the vegetables were things we have enjoyed separately but this had everything mixed together for a mild explosion of citrus and earthy flavors - we loved it. ALOT. It reminded me of those kitchen sink recipes - whatever vegetables you could add in, mix it up and enjoy. This was very colorful, tasty, and healthy. The result is a satisfying salad that's oddly filling. Enjoy!
Inspired from Serious Eats
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced finely
1 red bell pepper, diced finely
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 to 2 sweet potato, diced and peeled
1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Feta cheese (optional)
Rinse quinoa to remove bitter coating. Then cook quinoa in water for 15 minutes or until fluffy. Place in a large serving bowl and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the unsalted butter and cook the diced sweet potatoes until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add to quinoa bowl when completed.
Cook the onions for about 5 minutes and add the garlic for the last minute. Add to quinoa bowl when completed. Add the bell peppers and chopped cilantro and mix to combine.
Add olive oil, lemon juice, cumin salt, and pepper to the bowl and stir well to combine.
Serve warm or chilled, add a couple wedges of feta cheese for garnishment. Enjoy!
*If you do not like cilantro, you could easily substitute it for parsley.*
Review: This was really good, and I have been eating this dish for the entire week for lunch. Eat it as a salad with naan or pita bread and it's perfect. Colorful food makes me happy and this quinoa salad doesn't get boring after eating it for a few days either. Before you know it, you might want to make more.