Quinoa and Squash Gratin

How bummed out are you about this whole New York Times paywall thing? Personally, I read a lot more than 20 articles on the Times website a month, especially in their Dining & Wine section. Every recipe I've tried from them has been pretty stellar. Fortunately, it seems that if you click on a link to an article from social media or a search engine, it doesn't count toward your 20-articles-per-month allotment -- so all you really have to do is follow @nytimesdining on Twitter, since they post the link to every article and recipe. But that takes all the fun out of browsing! Browsing is what first led me to this awesome quinoa and squash gratin recipe from last fall. It's fairly simple to put together, is a real crowd pleaser, and holds up very well as lunch leftovers the next day. Grabbing the recipe was definitely worth using up one of my 20 articles.

Quinoa and Squash Gratin
From the New York Times
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds summer squash, diced (I used 2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese (2 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a two-quart baking dish or gratin. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the summer squash, thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, and stir in the squash mixture, the cooked quinoa and the cheese. Mix well and season, then scrape into the baking dish. Place in the oven, and bake 35 minutes or until it’s set and the top is lightly browned. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Warm Lentil Salad with Grapes, Feta, & Mint

So I guess we're getting toward springtime here in DC (at least theoretically -- if only it would quit snowing!), which is about the time I start craving quicker, lighter, fresh-tasting meals so I can enjoy more time outside in the sunshine. (Daylight saving time, you are my friend.) This one really hit the spot for me last night. It's so easy to throw together and has such a great combination of flavors and textures: chewy lentils, sweet grapes, crunchy pistachios, mustardy dressing, salty feta. This would be great served over a bed of baby spinach, or for my carnivorous friends out there, as a side dish with some marinated grilled chicken or pork chops.

Warm Lentil Salad with Grapes, Feta, and Mint
From Vegetarian Times
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (start with about 1 cup dry; simmer with water to cover for about 20 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until tender and translucent, stirring often. Remove from heat, and stir in sherry vinegar and mustard. Combine lentils, leek mixture, grapes, pistachios, mint, and parsley in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and top with crumbled feta.

Paella with Soy Chorizo and Edamame

Dude, have you guys been to Trader Joe's lately? I used to go when I lived in Cambridge, but since I moved down to DC in late 2009 I hadn't bothered to figure out where the closest one was -- until this past weekend. Holy crap, I forgot how much I loved that place. Things I came home with include, but are not limited to:
  1. Two kiwis
  2. A package of pre-trimmed leeks
  3. A bag of individually packaged 1-ounce goat cheese rounds
  4. Four bottles of wine costing $5 or less (including one blanc de blancs, ooh la la!)
  5. Peanut butter stuffed pretzel bites
  6. Arugula and parmigiano-reggiano ravioli
  7. Cherry-berry frozen fruit blend (for smoothies)
  8. Frozen verde chicken burritos (for Joe, obvs)
  9. Bully sticks (for the dog, obvs)
But one of the coolest things I found was actually a package of soy chorizo! And I knew that I had a recipe at home that called for it -- a paella recipe from this month's Cooking Light (which, by the way, contains more great veg recipes than the past 6 issues combined). Turns out that soy chorizo is super awesome. It has all the flavor of real chorizo but with half the calories and fat. Try it!

Paella with Soy Chorizo and Edamame
From Cooking Light
  • 6 ounces meatless soy chorizo (such as Soyrizo or Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Valencia or other medium-grain white rice
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add soy chorizo to pan, and cook for 12 minutes or until browned, crumbling and stirring occasionally. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

Return pan to medium heat. Add olive oil, swirling to coat. Add yellow onion; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add saffron and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add rice and bell pepper; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in white wine, and cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Add vegetable broth and salt; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Return soy chorizo to pan, and stir in edamame. Cook for 5 minutes or until edamame is thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and scallions.

Bread Soup with Spring Vegetables

Do you ever wind up with leftover, stale bread that you don't quite know what to do with? Maybe you don't have time to make French toast in the morning, or you're not really a breadcrumb/crouton kind of person, or bread pudding just sounds too heavy. One great option is to throw leftover chunks of bread into a soup. The Italians are famous for doing this in ribollita, a simple, traditional peasant dish. I did something similar last night, a recipe from this month's Everyday Food magazine (you gotta love Martha, right?) - it's a nice light springtime version, brothy and full of veggies.

If you're saving some of the soup for the next day, add the bread individually to the bowls at serving time instead of to the pot all at once when you first make the soup, as the recipe directs. That way the bread won't get soggy.

Bread Soup with Spring Vegetables
From Everyday Food
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 medium zucchinis, half lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 1-2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • A few slices of day-old crusty bread, torn into bite-size pieces
  • Roughly chopped fresh parsley, for serving
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini and thyme and cook until thyme is fragrant, 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high, add broth and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove thyme stems, stir in bread, and season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, top with parsley.

Fingerling-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard and Eggs

It's no secret that my favorite meal of the week is brunch. Breakfast food is pretty much the best, and brunch is a legitimate excuse to eat it after you've slept in and enjoyed a lazy morning. But sometimes you've got a busy Sunday planned, and there's just no time for a leisurely brunch. Yesterday was one of those days. I was having a productivity day: morning errands (farmers market, Trader Joe's, buying a printer), followed by a thorough apartment-cleaning, laundry, some afternoon friend time, and lots of basketball watching (even though my brackets are totally busted at this point).

So I missed brunch, but there was a consolation prize in sight: this breakfast-inspired dinner. A lovely springtime potato-leek hash with my favorite seasoning (smoked paprika, yay!) and fried eggs. Perfect with toast, and perfectly acceptable to be eaten in your pajamas at 8pm.

Fingerling-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard and Eggs
From Cooking Light
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (about 2 large)
  • 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise (about 4 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 cups thinly sliced trimmed Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Toast, for serving (optional)
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add leek; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and garlic; cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chard; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Using a spoon, push potato mixture aside to make 4 egg-size spaces. Crack 1 egg into each space; sprinkle remaining paprika, salt, and pepper over eggs. Cover and cook 3 minutes; sprinkle cheese over potato mixture. Cover again and cook 2 more minutes or until egg yolks are lightly set. Serve with toast.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Sometimes I get overly ambitious and attempt to make a "weekend dinner" (you know, one that takes forever to prepare) on, say, a Wednesday night. Fortunately, Joe is more or less all right with eating dinner at 9:00.

This moussaka was probably worth the wait. If you've never had moussaka, it's kind of like the Greek version of eggplant parmesan, though it traditionally has ground meat (often lamb) spread throughout the layers and is topped with a white bechamel-style sauce. Of course, this version is vegetarian, with bulgur standing in for the meat.

Like eggplant parm, moussaka can easily be made healthier by leaving the eggplant slices naked (no breading), making the bechamel with low-fat milk, and going easy on the cheese. Not only is this better for you, but it also really lets the delicious flavor of the eggplant and Greek spices shine through.

Vegetarian Moussaka
From Cooking Light
  • 3 peeled eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Romano cheese (you can sub Parmesan)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat broiler to high. Brush eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Place half of eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chopped onion to pan; saute 8 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Add bulgur; cook 3 minutes or until bulgur is lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vegetable broth, oregano, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with the whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Add egg, stirring well with the whisk.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange half of eggplant in an 11x7 (I used 13x9) inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the bulgur mixture evenly over eggplant; arrange remaining eggplant over bulgur. Top with milk mixture. Bake for 40 minutes, and remove from oven. Incerase oven temperature to 475 F. Return dish to oven for 4-5 minutes or until the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Kale Shorba with Raita

Everyone loves a pretty meal. You know, something that looks fancy and well put-together and colorful. Well, looks aren't everything. Take this soup, for example. It's basically the most disgusting color a food could be, and yet it's totally delicious. Surprise! Also, it's a great way to get more leafy greens into your diet - kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, since it's loaded with vitamins, iron, calcium, and beta carotene.

You may be thinking, what the heck is a shorba? Basically, it's just soup. Wikipedia tells me that shorba/chorba/ciorba/shurpa/etc. is "one of various kinds of soup or stew found in national cuisines across Eurasia." This version is distinctly Indian, with lots of aromatic spices and a cooling cucumber raita balancing everything out. It's great with some crusty bread or naan on the side.

Kale Shorba with Cucumber Raita Swirl
From Vegetarian Times
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or butter
  • 8-ounce bunch kale, stems removed, leaves and stems chopped separately
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt or non-dairy plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
To make shorba: Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add kale stems, potato, ginger, garlic, jalapenos, coriander, and turmeric, and saute 2 minutes. Add broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, then add kale leaves. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes more, or until potatoes and kale are tender. Stir in tomato puree, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend mixture in batches in blender until smooth.

To make raita: Stir together yogurt, cucumber, cumin, and salt in a bowl. Swirl a few tablespoons of the raita into each bowl of shorba.

Yellow Split Peas with Tomato & Chilis (Chana Dal)

I've had a bit of a dietary overload the past few days. Last week I had to go to Louisville for work, which ended up being one giant carb-fest. Then this weekend my parents visited DC for my mom's birthday. We had several great meals, but most imporantly, we went to Komi for her birthday dinner (best. meal. of. my. life. I would share photos but they don't allow guests to take any.) No words can describe the 15 amazing courses...or my food hangover the next day.

Last night I needed something gentle, so I threw together a nice, easy dal from my favorite curry cookbook. I don't know what it is about lentils cooked Indian-style that's so soothing, but they're just so creamy and savory and lovely. If you haven't been overindulging as I have, and you're more in the mood for something exotic, this dish can be spicied up significantly by adding extra chilis.

Yellow Split Peas with Tomato and Chilis
From 660 Curries
  • 1 cup yellow split peas (chana dal), picked over for stones
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 fresh Thai, cayenne, or Serrano chiles, stems removed, coarsely chopped (I used two seeded jalapenos because I'm a wimp)
  • 4 medium-sized cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee or melted butter (vegans can use canola oil)
  • 1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • Cooked rice or naan, for serving
Place the split peas in a medium-sized saucepan. Fill the pan halfway with tap water and rinse the peas by rubbing them between your fingertips. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now add 3 cups water and bring to a boil, uncovered over medium heat. Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas are partially tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

While the split peas are simmering, combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chiles, and garlic in a mortar. Pound with the pestle to form a pungent, pulpy mass (some coriander seeds will remain whole).

Heat the ghee/butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pounded chile blend and stir-fry until the garlic is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the tomato, salt, and turmeric. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato softens and the ghee/butter starts to separate around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, and set aside.

When the split peas are partially tender, add the sauce. Continue to simmer the dal over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors permeate the split peas, about 5 minutes. Then serve with cooked rice or naan.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Joe and I went on a little getaway this past weekend to lovely Richmond, Virginia, where we stayed in a historic inn, visited the Confederate white house, bought some ass-cheap vintage records, and ate a lot of delicious Southern food. I knew I wouldn't feel like cooking when we got home on Sunday, so I planned to have some strategic leftovers in the house. And there's nothing that says "leftovers" like a casserole.

So ahead of time I prepared this yummy artichoke and goat cheese strata. A strata is a special kind of casserole that's always made with bread, milk, and eggs, plus whatever other ingredients you want to add to mix up the flavors. It's kind of like a savory bread pudding, but more solid (less gooey) and it's purposefully layered (hence the name). Very delish, keeps well for several days, and works with an easy simple green salad on the side.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata
From Cooking Light
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 (1-pound) loaf country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese, divided
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in artichoke hearts and garlic; cook for 8 minutes or until artichoke hearts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in herbes de Provence. Cool 10 minutes. Combine milk, black pepper, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bread; toss gently to combine. Stir in artichoke mixture, and let stand for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Spoon half of bread mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of goat cheese, and top with remaining bread mixture. Sprinkle remaining half of goat cheese over top. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Chipster-Topped Brownies

Okay, so this recipe doesn't really fit with the whole healthy theme of this blog. But I was invited to an Oscar viewing party last weekend and volunteered to bring something sweet for dessert. When I asked if the hostess had anything particular in mind, she said "cookies or brownies." Well guess what, lady? Get a load of these guys:

That's right, a cookie layer on top of a brownie layer. WHAT! That is ridiculous. Ridiculously amazing! These things are every bit as good as they sound. Sweet, rich, chewy, chocolatey, vanilla-y, extremely bad for you... basically everything you could want in a baked good. Of course, since this recipe is by Dorie Greenspan, you would expect nothing less.

A warning: if you eat more than three of these in one sitting, as I learned, you will develop a headache and the urge to vomit. However, if you can restrain yourself to one or two at a time, you will be a very happy camper indeed.

Chipster-Topped Brownies
From Baking: From My Home to Yours (buy this book, seriously)

For the brownie layer:
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional; I omitted these)
For the cookie layer:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan, line it with wax or parchment paper, and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Make the brownie layer: Put both chocolates and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny, and smooth. If the mixture gets too hot, the butter will separate from the chocolates. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick, and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter. Using the spatula, fold in the walnuts (if using) and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

Make the cookie dough: Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate. Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread it evenly over the batter.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cookie top is deep golden brown and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. [This took more like 65-70 minutes for me. -BH] Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

When the brownies are completely cool, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn right side up onto a cutting board. Cut the bars about 2 inches x 1 inch.

Serving: Ice cream, whipped cream, and creme fraiche are all great accompaniments, as is a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Storing: Wrapped well or packed in an airtight container, the bars can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Playing around: The cookie top can be varied easily by swapping peanut butter, butterscotch, or white chocolate chips for the chopped chocolate. You could even use all of them.

Southwestern Quinoa & Sweet Potato Salad

I love this salad so much that it's usually the first recipe I tell people to make when they want to try quinoa for the first time. It's super easy to throw together, not to mention crazy delicious. It has a great combination of textures: chewy quinoa, creamy avocado, and crunchy bell pepper. Plus the always wonderful flavors of lime juice and cilantro... yes please!

Southwestern Quinoa & Sweet Potato Salad
From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 2 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • Cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (or a whole lime if it's not very juicy)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
First, cook the quinoa: put it in a saucepan with water to cover by at least an inch and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until it's done (taste often to check; it should take between 10 and 20 minutes; add more water if it gets dry but isn't done yet). Drain and rinse in a fine mesh strainer.

Meanwhile, cook the sweet potatoes: put them in another saucepan with water to cover and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, sweet potatoes, bell pepper, red onion, and avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste, along with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lime juice, then add to the quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.