Happy #MeatlessMonday! I know, it’s super late. But hey, it is still Monday… for another 5 minutes. For this Meatless Monday I bring you these delicious, super nutritious Quinoa, Roasted Sweet Potato, and Asparagus Bowls.
Most of my day was spent at the dentist. And cleaning. Pretty much two of the worst things ever. Am I right?
But these bowls made the day way better. And I’m pretty sure they can do the same for you.
I love quinoa. I feel like quinoa is pretty much a “love it or leave it” kind of food for most people. I’m sure you love it though. I can see it in your eyes.
I was watching The Ranch last night on Netflix (has anyone watched this?) and was cracking up at Sam Elliot eating/hating quinoa.
But, seriously. Quinoa is a superfood if there ever was one. It’s a complete protein and it’s full of iron, magnesium, vitamin E + B, and fiber. It’s also high in antioxidants and is naturally gluten-free. And it’s delicious.
Want more quinoa 411? Read up on 27 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Quinoa from Well-Being Secrets.
A lot of people don’t know how to cook quinoa well or get scared off by it. It’s so easy. I promise. Way easier than cooking rice, and I’m going to school you on some tricks on how to make it gorgeously fluffy and full of flavor.
Cook in Stock. A chef of mine once told me to never use water when you could use something that adds flavor. I pretty much live by this. I use chicken or vegetable stock to cook everything that I would normally use water, and especially when cooking quinoa.
Toast the Quinoa First. Toast the quinoa first in a little bit of olive oil until fragrantly nutty. It will give the quinoa a much deeper flavor. Remember, quinoa is actually a seed, and most seeds are much happier with being toasted. It brings out their full (flavor) potential.
Make it Fancy. Cook shallot and garlic before you toast the quinoa. Add lots of herbs. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime. Throw in some diced veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, Parmesan. The possibilities are endless.
Let it Rest. Don’t mess with it while it’s boiling. Let it do its thing. The general rule for quinoa is to bring water/stock to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the heat, and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. Then…
FLUFF IT UP! Fluff that quinoa, baby.
Think Outside the Box. Quinoa isn’t just a dinner side. Make it for breakfast, the way you would make your oatmeal: with nuts, dried fruit, and a little almond milk and cinnamon. Make it the star of your lunch by acting as the base for your salad. Bring it to a picnic or BBQ as an alternative for pasta salad. Add it to soups. Use puffed quinoa in granola. At a fancy hotel I worked at, we turned it into a vegan/gluten-free pudding (like rice pudding) and bruleed the tops of it like creme brulee. It can even be dessert!
Okay so my spiel about quinoa is over. Let’s talk about the bowls.
I pretty much make a quinoa/rice bowl 2-3 times a week. It’s my favorite. A la Elf: I just like to eat quinoa, quinoa is my favorite.
To this one, I added roasted sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, crisp radishes, baby kale, and a super lemony, creamy yogurt sauce.
Heaven. Heaven I tell you. Wanna try it?
- 1 cup quinoa
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 bunch radish, thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby kale*
- 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon, zested + juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (plus more for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 450. Cut peeled sweet potatoes into even 1" cubes and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until starting to brown and tender, about 20-30 minutes. Cut asparagus in thirds, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir both vegetables halfway through.
- In the meantime, cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium stock pot and cook the minced garlic until fragrant and softened, but not browned. Add the quinoa and toast until nutty, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn down heat to a steady simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and mix in chopped cilantro.
- Make the yogurt sauce: Whisk all ingredients until combined.
- Assemble the bowls: Divide the quinoa between 4 bowls. Top with roasted sweet potato, asparagus, and baby kale. Drizzle with yogurt sauce and top with additional parsley. Enjoy!