Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Recipes That Rock | (Leftover) Quinoa Bowl

This past Sunday, Victor was at the Redskins game with a friend and Max and I ventured to a housewarming party and a going away party, then came home for naptime.  Once I sat down to relax, I found myself feeling particularly icky...like impending cold icky: sinus pressure in my cheeks, down my neck, in my ear, etc.  The last thing I wanted to do was make dinner, but I knew that my icky-ness would be magnified if I ate take-out food or heated up some frozen "party food" (like popcorn chicken or taquitos from Costco) for dinner.  I knew soup would be a good choice for dinner...but I didn't feel like soup.  We had some leftover quinoa for earlier in the week, plus lots of veggie options, so I decided to whip this up:

I followed a recipe for something similar to this a month or two ago, but it was bland bland bland.  So I revamped it.  And it rocks.

(Leftover) Quinoa Bowl

"Leftover" is in parentheses because you don't have to use leftovers to make it, but it's super duper easy if you do.  This recipe is a "make it your own" type because you can pretty much substitute in any meat, beans, or veggies based on what is in your fridge, pantry, or freezer.  You can use leftovers or you can make it fresh.  

  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 14.5 oz can chicken/veggie broth
  • your choice of cooked meat, if you want it: choppped/shredded chicken, shrimp, salmon, ground turkey, etc.
  • 1 can beans of your choice, rinsed and drained
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup each of your choice of 3-4 chopped veggies: zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, etc.  You could also substitute a couple veggies for 8 oz. of frozen veggies (that's about half of a normal-size bag).

  1. Combine quinoa and can of broth in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to boil, then simmer, covered, on low until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. If you are using frozen vegetables, prepare them according to package directions and drain.  You'll want to start this before you begin sauteeing vegetables in the skillet.
  3. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chopped onion and saute until translucent.  Then add minced garlic and any fresh veggies you are using.  Add more olive oil as needed and saute until veggies begin to tenderize.
  4. Add rinsed/drained beans (and cooked frozen veggies, if you're using them), and meat.  Stir to combine and add more olive oil, if needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat for approximately 5 minutes or until beans and meat are heated through and vegetables are tender.
  5. Combine quinoa and meat/bean/veggie mixture in a bowl.  Top with shredded cheese, if desired.  And gobble it up!

I LOVE everything about this meal: you can throw it together on the fly and adjust the ingredients based on what you have.  I think what gives it all its flavor is the sauteed onions and garlic (which the recipe I had tried before didn't have), so make sure you include those!  For the bowl shown above, I used chopped zucchini plus half a combo bag of frozen peas, carrots, corn, and green beans.  Next time, I'm going to use some bell pepper and spinach, for sure.  And I think some avocado would be a great addition as a topping.  

How would you prepare your own (Leftover) Quinoa Bowl?

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