Quinoa. “Keen-Wa.” It wasn’t until recently that I heard about quinoa. Then I heard it everywhere. It’s kind of like when you buy a pair of running shoes that you think are really unique and you’ve never seen them before and within days of your purchase, you spot your shoes on someone else. And you want newer new shoes. I guess that’s one of those #girlproblems
Anyway, when I was in Colorado a few months ago, quinoa was everywhere. Every restaurant had multiple quinoa plates and people loved it. I don’t see quinoa as much in Jacksonville, but I have spotted it at a few places recently. First Watch has a great fall quinoa dish out right now. Quinoa is gluten-free! Yup, another GF dish! This was the first time I made quinoa and actually the first time I’ve seen it in it’s uncooked state. (it’s nothing too exciting) I played it safe with a lemon chicken complement and I really liked this. It was healthy yet hearty. I was full without feeling that yucky full feeling if this was say, pasta.
So here’s my recipe for Quinoa with lemon chicken, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. (Serves 4)
- 1 cup quinoa (rinse it well)
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Peppercorn Pepper and Sea Salt to taste
Ingredients for Lemon Chicken:
- 4 chicken breasts – enough chicken for 4 people
- 4 fresh lemons
- 4 cloves garlic
- parsley, salt, pepper to taste
Step 1: Cook the Quinoa. Just follow the directions on the package. Or follow these… In a medium saucepan, roast the 1 cup quinoa on medium heat for just a few minutes until it begins to darken. No water yet. It might make little popping noises (mine did anyway!). Make sure to stir. After 3-5 minutes, add 1 1/2 cup water to the pan and bring to a boil. Once you get a boil, simmer for 15-20 minutes. When the Quinoa is done, you will see little tail-like things on the quinoa.
Step 2: Pine Nuts and Garlic. While the Quinoa is cooking, roast the pine nuts for a few minutes in a saucepan until it has darkened. I think this took about 3-5 minutes. Transfer these to a plate. In the same saucepan (I hate doing dishes!) sauté the sliced garlic and parsley in coconut oil for 5-7 minutes. Transfer garlic and any remaining oil to the pine nut plate.
Step 3: Mix it all together. Once the quinoa is done, add the pine nuts, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and cherry tomatoes (sliced in half). Fluff the quinoa and let the dish sit for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This is what the Quinoa looks like when it’s done:
While you’re making the Quinoa, you can bake the chicken too. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a glass baking dish and cover with lemon juice, garlic (I liked sliced garlic for this), parsley, salt and pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Do not over bake or the chicken will be tough.
I also baked zucchini slices with a little cayenne seasoning. This dish could have been served in a bowl and eaten like that but my zucchini was going bad and had to be eaten soon. Plus the green added more color to the plate, right?
This dish was actually really good. Simple but tasty. I did a poll of friends and not everyone loves quinoa (WhAt?!) but I’m determined to find more flavorful recipes! What do you like with your Quinoa?