Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quinoa with Roasted Beets, Broccoli, and Beans

I'm baaaaack!!   Well, sort of.   I'm not sure how frequently I'll be updating, so enjoy the posts when they appear.  :-)

In May, I completed a 21-day Ultimate Reset -- basically, a dietary cleanse program designed to clean out your body and reset it to "factory settings."   Some of my results were weight loss, inches lost in the waist, and a decrease in my allergy symptoms.   Part of this Ultimate Reset required me to follow a strict vegetarian/vegan menu plan.   I quickly discovered that I didn't need to rely on animal proteins to fill me up during meals.

Now don't get me wrong... I still LOVE my meat & cheese!  I have NO intention of converting to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.   But I'm starting to look at my meal planning in a different light, trying to eat more fruits, vegetables, complete proteins, and grains.  I'll try to cut back on the amount of animal proteins I consume each week, and I'll try to eat clean/organic when possible.  

One of the foods I rediscovered during this Reset were beets.   The last time I had beets, I was a child, and the beets were out of a can.   I'll see them at salad bars, and snub my nose at them.   They never held much appeal.    Now I have learned how delicious fresh beets can be, particularly when they are roasted.  Yumm!   Even the beet greens taste pretty good when sauteed lightly with kale, a little coconut oil, and some herbs.  One of my favorite ways to eat beats are roasted in the oven.  They get carmelized and sweet, cooked on the outside but soft in the middle.  Delicious!

Rather than follow the same roasted beet recipe over and over, I wanted to find some variety.  So I created the following dish:

Quinoa with Roasted Beets, Broccoli, and Beans
(Serves 2)

3 medium-to-large beets
1 medium yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil (or safflower oil)
1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 head broccoli
1 cup beans of choice (I used a combination of chickpeas & kidney beans, which I had leftover in the fridge)
lemon juice, to taste
parsley (dried or fresh)
crushed black pepper
crumbled goat  cheese, optional

1) Preheat oven to 385 degrees. 

2) Cut off beet greens, but feel free to save them for another recipe - they can be cooked down like any leafy green.  Either peel the beets or scrub skins very very well, and then chop into 1-inch chunks.  Chop onion in half, then cut each half into 8 wedges.  
3) Put beets & onion wedges into mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp olive oil, and toss to coat. Spread on baking pan, and season with salt & pepper. Put into oven to roast for 30 minutes.
4) While vegetables are roasting, combine water and quinoa in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed.  Fluff with a fork, and set aside.
5) Cut the head of broccoli into florets. Cut large florets in half (or quarters), so you end up with pieces roughly the same size as your beet chunks.  Steam broccoli using your preferred method.

6) Heat beans of your choice in a small saucepan, and then drain liquids.
7) Once beets and onions are roasted to a nice carmelization, remove from oven.  Take a large serving of quinoa, top with the broccoli, beans, beets, and onion. Sprinkle with a little fresh lemon juice, parsley, and crushed black pepper. For a little extra richness, add some crumbled goat cheese.

This was amazingly delicious!  The sweetness of the roasted beets & onions paired nicely with the grainy quinoa.  The lemon juice added a tart brightness, the goat cheese added some creaminess, and all of these flavors worked so nicely together!  Best of all, it was healthy!!  Bonus :)

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